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Take a Breath

I have recently taken up “breathing”.  I know it may sound strange to say this but I have learned that many of us do not breathe correctly. I picked up “The Breathing Box” from Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. and read some valuable information.

If you know how to return to slower, deeper breathing, you can quiet your stress chemistry very quickly.  Breathing problems can unknowingly be associated with high blood pressure, asthma, respiratory disease, low level anxiety, chronic fatigue and mental fogginess. After a few days of conscious breathing correctly, some people experience increased energy and harmony in their bodies and minds.

If you watch a healthy baby breathe, its stomach muscles stay relaxed, and its belly rises and rounds with each in breath.  The in breath reaches into the very bottom of its lungs.  However, most adults hold their belly muscles too tightly when they breathe, and their stomach tension keep their lungs from expanding fully, forcing them to breathe up into their chests.

In most social situations today, it is not appropriate to flee or fight back when  you experience an unhappy situation and this stress is felt in our body with rising blood pressure, shallow breathing and muscles tightening. So what can we do?

Breathe Correctly by relaxing your belly muscles, taking slow and deep breaths and breathing into your abdomen. In a healthy breath, your abdomen expands first before your chest moves, as air fills the lower portion of your lungs.  There is more to this but this is a great start.

Develop a daily ten minute breathing practice. Focus on proper breathing.

Perform a few minutes of an exaggerated form of the correct breathing which stretches the whole body.  It is wonderful to remember these techniques when we are tense or full of anxiety.

With summer coming to an end and the fall season right around the corner, we can look forward to cooler weather and perhaps a season that allows for a slower pace and much more opportunity for enjoyment.

I hope these tips help us enjoy our daily lives a little more!  Have a wonderful September and Breathe Well!

Portrait of CC DeGraff , Executive Director at The Kensington Sierra Madre assisted living community in Southern California.

CC DeGraff, Executive Director