Breathing…something we all do, but how often do you bring awareness to how you are breathing throughout the day?
Have you ever considered that how you breathe 24/7 can have a profoundly positive or negative affect on your overall health? Have you ever considered that how you breathe can affect your stress levels?
Here are some awareness points to consider regarding your breathing patterns:
Do you breathe thru your mouth? Nose? Both?
Do your shoulders and chest rise and fall as you breath?
Does your belly area gently rise and fall as you breath?
Is your breath sporadic? Or does it have a steady tempo?
Can you hear your breath?
Do you notice your breathing change when you are stressed?
Do you experience a sensation of shortness of breath with physical activity?
So, how should you be breathing? Based on the anatomy and physiology of the body- here is how it should work:
Nostril breathing all the time if possible…you would not try to eat with your nose, right? Our nose serves as the primary pathway for the breath and the mouth is the secondary pathway. We should use the nose 99% of the time- relying on the mouth if our nasal passages are blocked.
Use the diaphragm- all the time… meaning there should be a gentle rise and fall of the belly as you breath. This gentle expansion of the belly as we inhale is due to the pressure of the diaphragm down into the contents of the abdomen. It is not due to a contraction of the abdominal muscles.
The breath should have a steady tempo…at rest and with exercise.
The breath should be quiet…you should not be able to hear yourself breathing while at rest and with gentle exercise.
Stress increases the breathing rate and has the potential to change the mechanics of the breath so that we rely more on chest breathing vs. diaphragmatic. The heart responds to the breath, so as breathing rate increases, heart rate increases, and stress increases…this can become a chronic cycle if stress is chronic.
Healthy, balanced breathing allows us to continue to breath thru the nose and use the diaphragm even with high intensity exercise.
A good way to remember it is that we want to have an “LSD” breath:
“L”- Light= quiet breathing
“S”- Slow= gentle and consistent tempo
“D”- diaphragmatic- use it all the time!
If you would like to learn more about creating healthy breathing habits and how this can improve the quality of your health, then join me for my upcoming virtual workshop, Breathing 101. I will be joined by my colleague; Marla Waal and we will discuss:
The importance of balanced breathing to maximize health and decrease overall stress in the body
Healthy breathing as the key to unlocking your vitality
Simple and effective breathing exercises to improve health and well-being
Investment in your health: $30
When: Saturday, July 25th
12:00- 1:30pm EDT/ 9:00- 10:30am PST
Reserve your spot: firstname.lastname@example.org
My weekly Zen Hour classes include stretching to prepare the body for breath awareness exercises. This combination helps creates a relaxed and focused mind to enhance quality of breath and overall health.
Total Body Warm Up
This is a simple daily movement routine to warm up the major joints of the body. This sequence can also serve as a warm up to strength training or other forms of exercise.