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 method made you feel more relaxed, less tense? Hopefully it was the second one!
Can you relate? You know when you’re having a less than proud moment and someone has the nerve to tell you to calm down and breathe? 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 the 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 calms 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 and again at the bottom of your exhale. Every inhale focus on filling the belly and 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.
Registered Massage Therapist / Certified Yoga Teacher
Sarah Whiteman is The Everyday Yogi – a passionate advocate for living life fully. As She Thrives’ Registered Massage Therapist and Certified Yoga Teacher, Sarah is very aware of how the human body works. Her engaging blend of quick-witted humour and grounded guidance are why Sarah’s yoga classes are much loved and her massage appointments are so hard to come by!