THE specific BLOG
THE specific BLOG
How’s Your Breath?
My office is next door to a dental office.
Everyday people come in to get their teeth checked out. Making sure there aren’t any cavities, that they’re brushing and flossing properly, maybe getting a procedure done…you know, the normal dental office activities.
This blog actually has nothing to do with the dentist…even though the title says otherwise.
What I’m talking about regarding your breath is how are you breathing?
Oftentimes we never pay any attention to how we are actually breathing, or how we might not be breathing. If you take a deep breath what happens? Well what’s supposed to happen is your belly should push outwards! This isn’t very flattering as no one wants their belly pushing further outwards than it already may be. But what this does is it helps us get more air into our lungs giving us deeper breathing. The opposite of this is when you take a deep breath your chest gets bigger and your belly stays in, all that’s happening in this case is we’re breathing into the upper part of the lungs and that’s it.
Everyone knows that breathing is a vital part of life. Without the ability to breathe you don’t get very far…like if you’re drowning for instance.
But what can our breathing actually do for us? Well we need oxygen for our heart and blood, that’s important. This oxygen helps nourish cells, organs, and muscles as well. Our breathing can also really impact how we feel and function.
If you’ve ever worked out really really hard then you know how fast and hard you can breathe. When you’re breathing really hard and fast a lot of the time your heart is also beating really fast, it’s working overtime to help deliver oxygenated blood to all of your body.
Have you ever spent a considerable amount of time breathing deeply and slowly? Most people have not as this is something that you need to focus on and take time out of your day to do. I’ve recently started doing conscious breathwork before I go to bed each night and it has really made a difference. There are some guided videos on youtube that I close my eyes and listen to. Some of them focus on relaxed breathing while others are a little more intense. In both cases it really helps you be conscious of your body and everything that’s going on.
When you start to focus on your breathing you become very in tune with your body. You will feel different sensations throughout as you start to activate things that may not have been activated for quite some time. One of these things being the parasympathetic nervous system. I call this your thrival nervous system as it’s in charge of keeping your body in a state of peace instead of your body being in a state of fight or flight. By focusing on your breath and taking deep, slow breaths we are able to activate this part of your nervous system. This will start to give you a calming effect if you’re doing it correctly. This will also slow down your heart rate and increase your focus. It’s important during these breaths that you’re breathing all the way into your belly and not just filling the top of your lungs with oxygen. In order to get the most air into your lungs it’s recommended to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. This is interesting as I’m one of those people who always feels a little bit congested but I’ve noticed when I do breathwork and breathe through my nose it tends to clear up! Mouth breathing can lead to rapid shallow breaths which will cause the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve, this may cause hyperventilation. Breathing through your nose is also a better way to filter the air going into your lungs as all of the hairs in your nose help get out any contaminants in the air.
Where to Start
I am by no means an expert on this subject matter but I think that gives me an interesting perspective as I’m growing and learning in this avenue the same way you might be. The simplest and easiest way to start this process is through a rhythmic 4 count breathing.
Take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold your exhale out for 4 seconds. During this process I like to focus on breathing in things I want or positive affirmations. When I breathe out I focus on the things I don’t want or self limiting beliefs. This may be a little “woo woo” for you but over time I start practicing the same thing!
I have started doing this for about 10 minutes every night before I go to bed. I lay an acupressure mat on my bed and lay down for it. You don’t have to do it this way as a lot of people prefer sitting tall during their breathwork. To make sure you’re getting full breaths it can be helpful to put your hands on your stomach and feel your belly push out against your hands when you take a deep breath. Maintain a steady rhythm doing this 4 count breathing, if 10 minutes feels too long then start with 5 minutes. Over time you’re going to get more and more comfortable with yourself doing this and you’ll start doing this longer and longer.
There is no doubt that when you start breathwork it can feel a little weird and awkward. If you give it some time I promise you that it will start to feel really good. You’ll have a better understanding of who you are and you may even begin to feel better due to your nervous system working better. In future I will be putting out some videos regarding breathwork along with some guided videos as I think it would be fun to help people grow in this space with me. If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out!
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