Breathe!

 

Welcome back friends! Today, we’ll talk about breathing exercises!

Personally, breathing exercises are the easiest way for me to feel grounded and peaceful. Whenever I’m stressed and on my way to a panic attack, I immediately begin to take deep, calming breaths. They really work like magic for me!

Here are some reasons why breathing exercises are beautiful strategies!

  1. Your muscles relax. Deep breaths release a lot of physical tension you didn’t know you even had.
  2. Your blood pressure lowers! Reducing blood pressure levels reduces your risk of developing a stroke, which is a sound reason to start breathing exercises.
  3. Breathing exercises release endorphins! Endorphins are the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters that can also result from smiling and exercising, both of which we’ll discuss in future posts!

inhale exhale– The Medium

Now that I’ve thoroughly convinced you to begin breathing deeply, let’s go over various breathing exercises!

  1. Equal Breathing- Sit in a comfortable position, with your head, neck and back aligned. Inhale for 4 counts through your nose and exhale for four counts through your nose. Repeat this pattern for 10 breaths to start out with. If you find yourself wanting to become more advanced, increase the number of breaths to 15, and then 20.

– The goals of this exercise are to “calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress.” I recommend doing this exercise in the morning and night- one to ground you for the day, and one to prepare you for bed. – The Greatist

  1. Alternate Nostril Breathing- “Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb, and exhaling through the left nostril.” – The Greatist

-This exercise helps you feel more awake so I recommend doing it in the morning or at during a break at work!

  1. Relaxing Breath- Sit in a comfortable position, with your head, neck and back aligned. Inhale for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and exhale for 8 counts. repeat 3 to 4 times in one sitting.

– If this exercise has you straining to hold your breath, then please stick to one of the other breathing exercises. The goal is to feel peaceful, not raise your anxiety levels. If you are able to do this exercise without straining yourself, then be aware of the ration- make sure that it is 4-7-8. When I do this exercise, I focus more on the exhaling counts because that is when I release tension.

For all of these exercises, I strongly suggest starting at a level that does not cause you any strain. It’s better to build up your resistance and strength than starting at a really difficult level and not keeping up with the habit.

Now that this post is longer than I intended it to be, I will sign off and see you tomorrow!

References:

http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html

http://greatist.com/happiness/breathing-exercises-relax

https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/stress-anxiety/breathing-three-exercises/

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