Looking After You: Breathe!

This can seem like a silly statement at first, of course you wouldn’t forget. It’s one of the main components of being alive, right? But really and truly how often do you breathe properly?

In yoga classes we really focus on feeling that connection to your inhalations and exhalations, however, you don’t need to be on a yoga mat to enhance your breathing practice. I say practice because at first when you begin to truly feel your breath it can feel awkward and unnatural but controlling your breath patterns can give you unlimited benefits. Boosting your energy, relieving symptoms or stress, tension and anxiety, enhanced immunity giving us clearer and calmer thinking are all but a few powerful reasons to give this simple task a try. Here are a couple of breathing techniques to help you begin.

Box Breathing:
Sit comfortably and gently close your eyes. Allow your breath to firstly be natural and once settled begin to draw a box within your mind. As you draw the left side of the box you inhale. To draw the top of the box you hold the breath. Right side of the box to exhale. And hold at the bottom of the box. This will begin to calm your nervous system and reduce signs of stress. Continue the drawing of the box several times until you are ready to return to natural breathing.

Counting Breath:
This is simply counting whilst breathing. Begin counting to 4 as you inhale and the count also to 4 as you exhale you can begin to lengthen the count to 5 or 6 as your practice deepens, allowing your full breath to fill your lungs as you inhale and empty all the breath out as your exhale. If you wish to bring in a holding of the breath after the inhale for the same count this will help deepen your practice and improve the benefits.
So, the next time you need a little chill or find yourself gritting your teeth, take a few very easy moments to connect to your body and breath. As without it nothing else really matters.

Kim Fletcher