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Healthy Breathing Tips
When faced with a stressful situation or if experiencing pain/discomfort, many people are instructed to take a few deep breaths to help relieve the tension. The problem is that so many people do not breathe in a healthful way; so taking deep breaths improperly can actually worsen the situation. Before attempting to change the breathing or learning to adapt a new technique, it is important to become aware of the body’s natural tendencies. This will give you valuable information. Does the breath feel shallow? Do inhalations or exhalations feel rushed or forced? Where does the breath travel to within the body? In time, connecting to your breath in these situations will be a natural and healthy response to a stressful situation, as well as a life-changing tool.
Bring your awareness to your belly. If you like, you can bring your hands to your belly to help feel the breath as you bring it to this area of your body. Imagine that you are slowly inflating a balloon into the belly and your diaphragm, as opposed to taking rapid, short bursts of air into the upper chest. Just as slowly as you inhaled, slow down your exhalation as if you were gradually releasing the air from the balloon/belly. Repeat several times, focusing on the inhalations and the exhalations becoming more smoothe, deep, and even. Done properly, this will relax the muscles of the body, balance the heart rate, give you a complete exchange of oxygen and CO2, calm the nervous system and relax the mind.
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