One of the most useful health tools we possess is our breathing. Such a simple process yet most of us do not use it to its full potential. A proper breathing technique can elicit a variety of responses in the body. One of the most important reasons I give breathing exercises to my patients is to help calm the nervous system. Many of us feel tired, irritable and overworked on a regular basis and these are only a few signs of an over worked nervous system. Before we start with the exercises there are a few simple rules to breathing properly:
- When taking a breath in try to feel the expansion start throughout the abdomen and back, trying to fill the body and expand in all directions.
- It is always good to be in a comfortable position, either seated or lying down.
- Preferably no distractions, so definitely when the kids are sleeping!
Here are a few basic breathing techniques to help regulate the body’s nervous system:
Calming Breath 4-7-8
I first learnt this simple breathing ratio from Dr. Weil. This technique helps relax the nervous system to allow it to reboot and regulate more efficiently. The 4-7-8 ratio means a 4 second breath in through the nose, hold breath for 7 and slowly exhale through the mouth for 8. This can be done for 10 minutes 1-2 times daily. An added touch would be to keep the tip of your tongue on the palate just behind the front teeth throughout the exercise.
Mind Reset (Breath Count)
This second technique is designed to help refocus the mind and become more connected to our own body. This is a very useful technique for those that are very preoccupied with life and want to do a reset. First and foremost find yourself a comfortable seated position. Then take a few simple breaths to begin and allow yourself to breathe naturally. Start counting your breaths on each exhale from 1-5 and then start the process over again, the trick would be not to let yourself get distracted and count higher than 5.
It is very important to note that a lot of people can feel light headed or slightly dizzy when starting these techniques so don’t force things, allow your body to adapt. Mr. Wim Hof is another great source for those that are interested in more intense breathing techniques. He has a very good app that explains his breathing technique and its benefits.
If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment with one of the team members, give us a call 514-505-1774.