During uncertain times, it is normal to be feeling anxious about…well, everything. Here are some deep breathing exercises courtesy of Urban Balance to help you get through each day.
Deep Breathing – The Benefits
1) Decreases stress, increases calm. When you become stressed or anxious, your brain releases cortisol, the “stress hormone.” By taking deep breaths, your heart rate slows, more oxygen enters the blood stream and ultimately communicates with the brain to relax. Deep breathing also ups your endorphins: the “feel good” chemical.
2) Relieves pain. As stated above, deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins, which not only helps reduce stress, but is also known to help combat pain.
3) Stimulates the lymphatic system (Detoxifies the body). Breathing releases carbon monoxide, which is important to fully release. Actually, breathing is in charge of 70% of cleansing the body of toxins (the other 30% is through bladder and bowels.) If you do not breathe fully, your body must work overtime to release these toxins.
4) Improves immunity. When your blood is fully oxygenated, it carries and absorbs nutrients and vitamins more efficiently. Essentially, the cleaner the blood, the harder it is for illnesses to stay put in your system.
5) Increases energy. The more oxygen that is in the blood, the better our body functions. It also improves our stamina.
6) It lowers blood pressure. As your muscles relax, this allows your blood vessels to dilate, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. Deep breathing also slows and regulates the heart rate, which also helps with lowering your blood pressure.
7) Improves digestion. The more you breathe deep, the more healthier blood flow you will produce, which in turn promotes your organs to function more effectively, including your intestines.
8) Helps support correct posture. Next time you breathe in, notice that you simultaneously lengthen and straighten your spine. In order to take a deep breath in, your lungs take up maximum space, your diaphragm pulls down, so in turn your torso straightens for this to be possible.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Now, deep breathing is something that is unnatural for your body to do, so just like learning any new skill, it takes practice! Try to incorporate one breathing exercise each day. Here is a simple breathing exercise that can be incorporated into your daily routine:
Breathe in calmly, through the nose, filling your abdomen and chest, for 5 seconds (or longer, not exceeding 7 seconds). Hold this breath in for 3 seconds. Slowly and gently release the breath through the mouth for 5 seconds (or more, whatever is comfortable.) breathe out through a slightly parted lip or “O” shaped lips. Repeat this 5 times, or even better, continue for 5 minutes.
Important tips: Deep breathing should be slow and gentle. Remember to fill the abdomen, not just the chest. A simple way to make sure you are doing this is to place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Breathe deeply and make sure your hand on your stomach is rising. Try to be aware of your breath, heartbeat and to release tension from your body. Sometimes it’s easier to lie down or sit comfortably in a chair.
Featured Products To Assist And Elevate Your Deep Breathing
I love a good incense and ila do a really great Aroma Of Purity & Peace. The product is handcrafted in India with Sandalwood and Jasmine and is a joyful, chemical-free fragrance that is hard to beat. It’s the perfect solution for stress, clearing away all negative energy and filling the room with a sense of peace. The fragrance is perfect – subtle yet effective.
Nita Signature Sleep Roller
Natural stress relief known to relieve anxiety – Encourages deep sleep
Ingredients – Lavender, Marjoram, Ylang ylang, Roman chamomile, Hawaiian sandalwood, Vanilla bean absolute & Fractionated coconut oil.
How to use: Apply to the insides of wrists, the neck, or the soles of the feet.
Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils
Clear rooms and foggy brains with the renewing power of Douglas Fir. A few drops of this oil’s distinct piney essence refreshes rooms of stale air and can be applied diluted to the skin for a clean, woodsy fragrance. Creates calm feelings and encouraging an uplifted mood. The unique chemical composition of Douglas Fir essential oil can also promote feelings of open airways and easy, deep breathing.
Sitka Spruce Essential Oil
Calm mental congestion and clear breathing passages with the sharp, rich and slightly fruity fragrance of Sitka Spruce. Distinctly Pacific Northwestern, this powerful essential oil also contains beta-myrcene, known for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, and can be diluted and applied topically to inflamed, achy areas for soothing relief.
Calm, lift and refresh fatigued spirits with the bright, citrus vapors of these similar, versatile trees. Soothe itchiness, inflammation, and dryness, control excessive perspiration, prevent fungal infections, protect minor abrasions from developing infections, slow the appearance of signs of aging, and enhance circulation
This safe essential oil is traditionally used to support the breath, chest, and throat. Hemlock oil has a relaxing presence, comforting during long, cold, dark nights. It can also help to release blocked energy (in the body and mind), creating refreshment throughout the entire system.
The Rainforest blend incorporates the best of all three of these oils in one powerful blend.
– These incredible essential oils are distilled from fresh, sustainably harvested conifer needles gathered in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.
Great Bear Rainforest™ Essential Oils is a social enterprise supported by the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative — a non-profit society and alliance of eight First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii
If you like to also use meditation to achieve deep breathing, these are some of our favourite apps:
Did you miss my last post? Check out Lockdown Self-care Tips From A Spa Professional – my advice on maintaining optimum health during the Coronavirus pandemic and some key products that you can utilize, too.
Stay safe & breathe deeply x
(Written by Spa Manager, Sarah Werkhoven)