We all breathe, but the big question is, ARE we breathing well, and what IS breathing well?
Breathing well can increase oxygen intake, calm the body and mind, reduce feelings of stress and anxiousness, and reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Calm breathing prevents excessive output of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, because it signals to the brain that you are safe – there are no tigers chasing you! In the end practicing breathing well helps you in everyday life where you may feel a sense of ease and feel more uplifted.
How do we breathe?
Housed in our rib cage are two large bags connected to the outside world through a complex network, somewhat like bunches of grapes. These are our lungs, and it is where the magic of ‘gas exchange’ happens. We breathe in oxygen, that oxgyen is taken to our body in our blood, and at the same time, we are breathing carbon dioxide out.
Breathing is automatic. Our brain automatically activates the diaphragm and rib cage muscles along with some neck muscles to keep up breathing. The muscles at the base of our ribs need to be working well first to pull the air into the base of the lungs, rather than the ones at the top. If we top breathe, we reduce the amount of oxygen into our lungs. So, to breathe well, we need to use ALL of our lungs.
Try to practice your breathing at least once per day and see how it can help you. You could also download an app that takes you through the process, and we’ve made some recommendations at the end.
If you’d prefer to watch and learn, check out Tina explaining it all in more detail, and the breathing technique, on our YouTube Channel.
Here is a simple technique we can do to practice breathing well.
1. Wrap your hands around your lower rib cage on either side
2. Slowly breathe in through your nose expanding the base of your chest and watch your belly rise (count for 4 seconds)
3. Slowly breathing out through pursed lips for 6 seconds keeping your shoulders down and neck relaxed
4. Repeat this 5 times to exercise your diaphragm
Apps you can download to help you improve your breathing
Universal Breathing – pranayama: https://www.saagara.com/apps/breathing/universal-breathing-pranayama
Paced breathing: http://pacedbreathing.blogspot.com/
Relax Stess and Anxiety Relief: https://www.saagara.com/apps/breathing/relax
Prana Breath: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abdula.pranabreath
Breathing Zone: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/breathing-zone/id369838631
Rec & Sport Team