I wanted to drop in today to chat about the importance of breathing. This is something that we all do without even thinking about it. Right now, as you read this, you’ve probably already taken 2 or 3 breaths. Over my years of practice, and self-care, I’ve began to really see the difference that a good diaphragmatic breath can do to the body.
Each day when I’m working I see clients who typically chest breathe. What’s a chest breath, you ask?? Well, it’s when you use your chest to breath instead of your diaphragm. This breath takes a lot of excess work on your body. You ask your neck muscles to aid in lifting your ribs off your lungs, you ask your sympathetic nervous system to turn, and you also use only a percentage of the oxygen that could be available to your body. OKAY… so now let’s chat about diaphragmatic breathing. It’s when you breath deep into your belly, and allow your belly to raise and fall with each breathe. It may make a little more noise than a chest breathe, but you have just done so much good to your body by asking it to breathe diapraghamtically. And you are actually using the muscle meant to breathe.
Here’s the goods:
- It’s our bodies natural way of breathing. BUT most of us chest breath all day long.
- It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and allows our body to relax, to digest, and to rest.
- It’s increases heart and lung strength.
- It decreases anxiety, and stress.
When this breath happens, I’ve seen trigger points decrease in clients, I’ve talked myself down from panic attacks, and I’ve been able to achieve a deeper stretch in a muscle. I urge you to give it a try!
So… here’s a quick exercise you can apply right now:
Lay on your back on either, get comfortable. Place your hand(s) over top of your belly button, and breath deeply so your hand raises and falls with each breathe. Breathe in for a count for 5, hold it for 5, and exhale for 5. Try this for a couple of minutes, and really try to relax into it.
Now when I get that feeling of racing around, panicking, or just can’t sleep, I do this exercise. It helps ground me, and take a couple of minutes to just chill out.
Hope this little exercise helps you as much as it helps me.