Physical + Mental Health + Breathing – It’s all connected!

Let’s try an experiment…

For the next 10 seconds breathe as quickly and forcefully as you can. Ready? Go!

Notice how you feel.

Now, for the next 10 seconds breathe as slowly and as controlled as you can.

Again, notice how you feel.

What one made you feel more relaxed, less tense? Hopefully it was the second one! ;P

You know when your having a less than proud moment and someone has the nerve to tell you to calm down & breathe? Well, as annoying as they may be in that moment, they’re right.

We live in a society that is always on the go. Which puts us, and leaves most of us, in the flight or fight response (sympathetic nervous system). It increases heart rate, blood pressure and puts our digestive system on hold. The goal is to find some balance and deep, focused breathing can help. It brings us into a rest and digest state (parasympathetic nervous system). It lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, relaxes the GI tract, helps to reduce anxiety and calm the entire body.

So carve out a few minutes today and find a comfortable position – seated or laying down. Take a deep inhale in through your nose and then slowly exhale through your nose. As you get more comfortable with that, work to lengthen the inhale and exhale. Anywhere from 4-8 seconds. If it feels ok, hold the breath for a second at the top of the inhale & again at the bottom of your exhale. Every inhale focus on filling the belly & rib cage up like a balloon. Every exhale focus on completely emptying the torso. And there you have it! Try it out and let me know how it goes.

If you’re looking for a little extra zen (and maybe a laugh or two) check out my yoga classes at She Thrives on Monday’s & Wednesday’s 5-5:45pm & 6-6:45pm. I’d love to have you!

Sarah Whiteman

Registered Massage Therapist, RMT

Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT200

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