When we wake up, yawn, or stretch we often feel invigorated and slightly renewed. This is no accident. Deep breathing triggered by those actions help us to take in more oxygen and start body processes designed to relax and energize us.
Sadly, many live where there is little clean air. Even more of us live with stress that causes us to breathe rapidly and shallow—depriving our body of the balance it needs to optimally perform. Now with COVID-19 making us even more aware of our respiratory function, it’s a great time to stop, breathe deep, and rejuvenate.
With your stomach, not your chest.
Take slow deep breaths in your nose, but don’t inflate your chest, rather allow your abdomen to expand. Our diaphragm is designed to expand downward for drawing our breath into the lungs. This means if we breathe with our chest we tend to compress our lungs versus allowing them to reach full capacity.
Steady as she goes.
Use a slow and gentle pace for breathing. Many adopt a count system where you breathe in for a certain amount of time, then hold, before breathing out for another set amount of time. This helps establish a rhythm, focus our mind, and promotes the release of tension.
Try stretching as you deep breathe.
Stretching allows your muscles to relax while also stimulating blood flow to your tissues. Certain stretches in yoga or diaphragmatic breathing can even allow you to get greater lung capacity and depth of breath. This means you can accomplish both your deep breathing goals along with your other routines.
It seems stupidly simple to say that deep breathing can change your life, but it does! Adherents of deep breathing have noticed a reduction in pain, increase of calm, and a better (more oxygenated) state of mind.
The next time you feel sluggish, achy, or foggy take a few minutes to practice deep breathing. It might just help you to find your second wind for the day.