Some of you may be familiar with the increasing popularity of meditation and breathing exercises. It’s no surprise these practices have become more well known as things such as the pandemic have heightened stress, anxiety and depression in our society over the past couple years! There is an incredible book, “Breath” by James Nester for anyone who’d like to dive a little deeper into the history of breathwork and the science behind it. Today we’ll walk through several benefits that come with breathwork and I’ll include a link for some fantastic guided videos to get you started in your own practice of mindful breathing exercises!
Many therapists swear by slow, deep breathing exercises to tackle anxiety attacks and it’s even better when used as long term treatment. Often during an anxiety attack when you feel you aren’t getting enough oxygen and start to hyperventilate, your breathing becomes rapid, short and shallow creating an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Slow deep breaths will regulate that imbalance versus contributing to it like the short shallow breaths will. Deep breathing helps regulate your heart rate and increase oxygen levels and allow toxins to leave the body with carbon dioxide. This helps signal the brain to relax, regular deep breathing exercises will help balance hormones releasing endorphins into the body.
Decreases Toxicity In The Body
Daily stress, bad eating habits, lack of sleep and shallow breathing creates an acidic internal environment. With deep breathing toxins are released with carbon dioxide allowing the body to return to a more alkaline state. It could essentially be considered detoxifying.
Improves Digestive Health
By increasing oxygen in the digestive system through deep breathing it allows the organs to perform better helping relieve gastrointestinal issues like constipation, indigestion and so on. A healthy digestive system and gut biome is essential to overall health!
Great for Cardiovascular Health
Regular deep breathing strengthens the cardiovascular system and muscles helping improve blood pressure, decreasing risk of stroke and even stimulates the vagus nerve which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response which is what tends to flare up during things like a panic attack, anxiety or nervous situations.
These are just a few of the ways that breathing exercises can dramatically improve your quality of life! It seems so simple but the proof is in the pudding. Try doing a breathing exercise twice a day for a week…one solid week and see what it does for you. It just might blow your mind! The link below leads to James Nestors website where you can find his book but specifically several videos for breathing exercises that you can follow along, now some of the videos are a bit advanced so if you struggle with weaker lungs currently just opt for 5 minutes of slow deep breathing twice a day as your lungs build strength!