What if there was a simple way to help calm us down, de-stress and come back to ourselves in any situation? Sounds too good to be true? Well, we already have that tool inside of us – our breath.
Change your breathing pattern, change your life
Research has shown that conscious, deep and slow breathing is the most effective and immediate way in order to pacify the nervous system, relax the body and strengthen the immune system. Conscious breathing can also help reduce disorders which are triggered or aggravated by stress such as insomnia, depression and anxiety.
When we feel stressed, our breathing pattern changes as a part of the “fight-or-flight response”. The breath becomes more shallow and we tend to breathe into our upper chest only. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced society where many of us are constantly under pressure, this breathing pattern has become the norm. But creating a practice of consciously focusing on your breath and direction into your belly can make an impact not just on occasional moments of stress but also on the daily ups and downs of life that we all experience.
Different breathing techniques for different goals
In addition to using abdominal breathing in order to de-stress, there are different breathing techniques (known as “pranayama” in yoga), that have other positive benefits on the body. Some techniques, for example, are used to increase energy and uplift one’s mood.
But you don’t have to be an experienced yogi to reap the benefits of conscious breathing! Here is a basic breathing technique you can try immediately.
Stress-reliever (“Samavritti” – balanced breath)
- Sit comfortably with a straight spine or lay down, hands on your belly.
- Breathe in slowly and expand your belly to the count of four.
- Slowly exhale to the count of four, matching the length of your inhale.
- Continue this way for several minutes or until you feel your mind and body calm down.
Note: As you practice more, you can experiment with counting to higher numbers, making sure your inhale and exhale stay the same length.
Want to learn more about what specific breathing techniques to practice in order to achieve a certain outcome? Book a free consultation now!