Conscious breathing might be the key to finding relaxation
We take approximately 20,040 breaths in a day, that’s roughly 960 breaths per hour, approximately 16 breaths every 60 seconds, and one breath taking almost 4 full seconds. How many times a day do you truly listen to your breath? Most of us don’t unless we’re taking a yoga class where an instructor is telling us to focus on our breathing. We also might if we’re doing a vigorous exercise that’s causing us to get short of breath. More people I see today that are looking to find relaxation through nature, with yoga, Reiki or Thai massage are telling me they are holding their breath certain times of the day for no reason, their breathing is all in their chest, and it’s hard to take a deep full breath from their diaphragm and lengthen the inhales and exhales.
When an animal in the wild breathes in its chest it means it’s in danger, the heart rate rises, blood flow increases causing the body temperature to rise, senses are heightened, etc. Over time if an animal had this kind of reaction every day without being in danger, stress and anxiety becomes apparent. As humans when we have short breaths in our chest it’s telling us something is wrong, and if we have that happen over and over again anxiety can become more present in the body. The good thing is we can change the way we breathe, but like anything else it takes conscious effort, practice and patience.
Below are 3 daily breathing exercises all in under 3 minutes you can try to aid in relaxation and increase your health and wellness.
Morning: With your eyes closed count 4 seconds on each inhale and exhale, after a weekly practice lengthen the exhale by one second.
Throughout the Day: At least 3 times bring your awareness to your breath, it could be every 2 hours or at random — set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget. Try different times with your eyes closed and other times while doing your normal daily activities. You can focus on your breath while driving your car, sending an email, during a meeting, and many other times. You might find it hard at first to focus on your breath while doing another task but the more you do it the easier it gets.
Evening: Before going to sleep count the inhales and exhales you take in one minute.
When you are focused on your breathing make sure you are not holding your jaw, relax the facial muscles. If the face muscles are tightened, you cannot relax the rest of the body. Slightly open your mouth to make sure your jaw is released. Take your inhales through your nose, add some exhales out the mouth and include a “sigh” for even more relief.
Finally, record your findings. Take notes on how you feel before and after your breathing exercise. After 30 days note your physical, mental and emotional feelings. Over time you should see that your breathing will increase in length, in many cases people find more relaxation, lower anxiousness and a higher consciousness in their daily life. You could also see an improvement in sleep patterns, your mood, productivity and so many other benefits! In more advanced breathing exercises people noted building abdominal muscles. Could you image getting “abs” by better breathing?
With the holidays approaching try these breathing techniques to relieve stress and anxiety and remain calmer and more centered. Share with our community which breathing exercises you enjoyed the most! We hope to meet you in person, check out what adventures we have coming up!