When you think about everything that your body does for you each day you may think of how our hearts continue to beat each day, that our bodies carry us where we need to go each day, or even that our bodies allow us to sleep and rejuvenate each day. But what about breathing? Breathing is one of the many things our body does for us, without us having to consciously think about it (thankfully!). Our bodies are amazing, aren’t they? But what happens when we focus more of our attention on our breath and more specifically, breathing exercises?
Breathing has been a main focus in the field of stress and anxiety with the strong role it plays in stress relief. Relaxation techniques that aim at reducing overall stress levels, often include some component of breathing exercises. Here are some tips on finding the right breathing technique for you and how to get started.
Do Some Research
There are many types of breathing exercises that can be helpful in reducing stress, including Sama Vritti (Equal breathing), Abdominal Breathing, Guided Visualization, Progressive Relaxation (Shakeshaft, 2012). Hoame, North America’s largest modern meditation studio offers both introductory meditation classes and more structured breathwork classes. Take some time to learn more about the different types of breathing exercises and see which type resonates with you.
Once you’ve decided which types of breathing exercises work well for you, start practicing this daily. Remember – this doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Carolyn Plater MSW, RSW and Stephanie Kersta MSc, RP, co-founders of Hoame, encourage starting small with a few minutes per day and gradually building your practice up.
Evaluate Your Practice Over Time
Monitor your practice of breathing exercises, and note how it has affected you over time. Do you notice yourself practicing breathing exercises during stressful times? Has it been helpful at slowing your heart rate and reducing stress levels? Are you feeling more in control of your stress and life overall?
Provided by Hoame Meditation: Hoame offers a range of meditative classes in breathtakingly immersive light & dark themed studios, salt cave, infrared sauna, workshops and more. Learn more here >
Shakeshaft, J. (2012). 6 breathing exercises to relax in 10 minutes or less. Time. Retrieved from: http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/08/6-breathing-exercises-to-relax-in-10-minutes-or-less/