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Take a deep breath

by Joanne Brathwaite on in New Year, New You

Take a deep breath

Gosh, daily life can be stressful!

If it’s not work, it’s our relationships. If not our relationships, it’s our health. Simple daily stressors and anxiety can leave us feeling tight in the chest. If it’s not external stress, modern life keeps us sedentary and when we bend forward, head down, arms together, with muscles tensed, it can take our breath away – and not in the good sense…

Don’t be so shallow

Most of us take quick, shallow “chest” breaths that can leave us feeling tense and drained. this type of breathing may result in hypoventilation, which could cause a build up of carbon dioxide in the body [1].

An article the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggested that fast, shallow breathing can cause fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, stomach upsets, heartburn, gas, muscle cramps, dizziness, visual problems, chest pain and heart palpitations.

Take a deep breath

Fortunately, it’s possible to re-train the way we breathe, with a simple mindful breathing exercise that can help release tension and help you improve oxygenation, improve digestion, release tension and promote relaxation [2].

Abdominal breathing, also called belly breathing, is a basic yoga breath that combats the effects of chest breathing. The technique emphasizes breathing deeply to create abdominal movement [3].

It’s essential for those beginning a yoga practice, but it provides healthy benefits to everyone.

Slow and simple

Abdominal breathing is best while lying on the back, with one or both of your hands on your abdomen.

  • Inhale slowly and deeply, drawing air into the lowest part of your lungs.
  • Feel your belly expand and rise as you inhale. At the end of the inhalation, pause for a count of two.
  • Contract and lower as you exhale, feeling your belly “deflate.”

Once you’re comfortable doing abdominal breathing in a reclining position, you can try it while sitting or standing. You can use this technique at any time of the day when you need to calm down. And if you need some support while finding your centre, we can help.

Good luck! A new you in the New Year starts right here.

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_breathing
2. http://www.stress.org/take-a-deep-breath
3. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/breathing-techniques-to-help-you-relax


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