Published in the Haslemere Herald, HUNTER CENTRE & NATURBALANCE, Thursday 9th April 2020
We want to share some top points about breathing and relaxation.
We all face moments of anxiety, stress, anger, sadness… just to mention only some of the emotions that can affect our daily life an environment.
Our mental and physical well-being depends greatly on our breathing; this function constantly converts our life-sustaining energy, taking in oxygen, invigorating red blood cells and expelling waste.
By breathing deeply, you allow the diaphragm to drop downward, the rib cage to expand and create more space for the lungs to inflate. By mastering the art of deep breathing, increased oxygen floods into the body, eventually helping the heart pace to slow down to create feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Breathing is a gift we all have, and most of us take it for granted. Here are some facts and wonderful benefits we have if we make the best of our breath plus some breathing techniques you can start doing at home. Enjoy them!
- Breath increases energy
- Influences a good sleep and regulates sleep patterns
- Calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety
- Improves the respiratory system; opens up the chest and releases tension
- Deep breathing can play an important role in protecting the body from bacteria, viruses and other threats to our health and it strengthens the lymphatic system
- Releases muscle tension and minimises pains
- The cardiovascular system improves, increasing circulation to the heart, liver, brain and reproductive organs as well the digestive system, encouraging intestinal action and overall digestion
- It can help us overcome addictive patterns of behaviour and eating disorders, as well as igniting creativity and passion, it keeps the ageing process which helps us look younger
- The quality of our breath helps to relax the mind and enhance the ability to learn, focus, concentrate and memorize, giving more focus and mental clarity
Start the day with this breathing technique whilst still in bed and after having a whole glass of water to rehydrate you after your sleep. You can practise this any time during the day but especially when in bed ready for a good sleep:
- Close your eyes and breathe in, filling your belly and diaphragm with air for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds
- Exhale slowly (imagine getting rid of a worry or negative emotion if that is the case)for 6 seconds
- Breathe in again, this time imagining a positive emotion or situation, for 4 seconds, hold for 4 and exhale for 6 seconds
- Repeat the cycle up to 5 times
To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:
- empty the lungs of air
- breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
- hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
- exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
- repeat the cycle up to 4 times
Exercise: Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Lie on the floor on your back with legs comfortably spread and the arms relaxed alongside the body
- Place both hands on your lower abdominals, just below your rib cage
- Focus on the inhale and exhale and notice the rise of the inhale and the fall of the exhale. Breathing in through your nose, your belly rises, and breathing out through your nose, the belly comes down. Allow there to be a pause between each breath
- Imagine as you inhale that there is a balloon inside or a ball of light expanding with each breath. This is a deep diaphragmatic breath
- If you are having difficulties feeling the breath in your belly, then you can try this: find a heavy book or a large bag of rice. Place this on your belly and put your hands on top
- Now as you inhale, gently push the weighty object into your hands and keep it there as you breathe in and out