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How do you breathe?

No matter what we eat, how much we exercise, how resilient our genes are, how skinny or young or wise we are-none of it will matter unless we’re breathing correctly. ~Breath, by James Nestor

Breathing is the essence of life and most of the time we do it without thinking. Increasingly, research is showing the benefits of a regular breath practice. Learning how to breathe ‘correctly’ and making a practice part of our regular routine can make a real difference to health. Here we will look at a very brief breath practice and explore how breathing can be used to manage stress.

So how do we breathe correctly?

First think about breathing using your nose. Covid had a lot to answer for, wearing masks altered breathing and lots of us became ‘mouth’ breathers. Nasal breathing gives us so many benefits, including;

  • A barrier to infection

  • Increasing our lung volume

  • Creating a better balance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body

  • May improve cognitive function

  • Stimulates the diaphragm

Maybe set yourself a challenge, see how you breathe through the day, start being conscious of exactly HOW you are breathing.

Let’s look at how we take a full breath. When taking a full breath we try to fill the lungs to full capacity. Begin by emptying the lungs and then with a slow and steady breath inhale through the nose, drawing the breath downward. Feel the breath travel through the upper chest, to the thoracic area (upper and middle back), feeling the rib cage expand to finally feeling the air reach the abdominal/pelvic region. How long does it take for you to take a full breath in? Time how long it takes you to fully breathe in, make a note and then as you practise over the next few weeks can you increase the length of time it takes you?

How can breathing help stress?

When we are stressed or anxious our breathing becomes irregular, shallow and quicker. If we recognise this we can use our breath to trick the brain to think we are in a safe environment and help promote a calm state. At times of stress or anxiety try to engage with your breath; take time to slow it down, taking deep breaths, try inhaling for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 8. As we exhale the heart rate is lowered, helping you feel calmer. This is a technique that can be used anywhere, anytime, for example, before giving a presentation at work, at the dentist or working into an unknown situation.

Breathing is a huge topic and here we just looked at a few basic ideas that you could have a go at in everyday life.

Breathing is just one of the topics we explore in our bestill sessions. If it’s something you’d be interested in exploring further why not join us on one of our days, where we cover a range of techniques that you can use in everyday life?

bestill Days

Our bestill days are designed to give you a day of relaxation and learn proven techniques that you can take into everyday life.

To book your place visit the following link, you won't regret it!

Did you know that we also work with local businesses? Well-being is key for staff retention and reducing days off to sickness. We can offer short talks, mindfulness workshops, yoga classes and much more. Why not get in touch to discuss how we can work with you? Or let your company know about us!

We hope to work with you very soon.

Alex & Naz

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