Discover the benefits of mindful breathing and make it a habit
Keep calm and carry on with these mindful breathing strategies from Co-founder Moira Merrithew
Find your breath.
Did those three simple words make you pause for a second?
Our breath keeps us alive, but we rarely think about the act of inhaling and exhaling.
When you focus your mind on your breath it promotes better concentration, self-awareness and supports the body in motion. Taking a moment every day to simply engage with your breath can have a huge impact on your stress and energy levels.
Our Co-founder Moira Merrithew talks about the benefits of thoughtful breathing and provides some simple strategies for making this mindful habit part of your daily routine.
3 benefits of mindful breathing
1. Slow your breathing to release tension
By slowing your breathing, you can decrease your blood pressure, allowing your body to relax and feel less anxious. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which decreases the heart rate and dilates blood vessels, reducing your overall blood pressure. As your breathing slows down, your brain associates it with a state of relaxation, releasing tension.
2. Enhance torso stability and efficient muscular activation
An optimal breath pattern allows the ribs to expand in a three-dimensional motion. This motion allows the lungs to expand in all directions and promotes activation of the deep stabilizing structures of the spine. When any one of these motions of the ribs are restricted, a non-optimal breath pattern called an accessory breath pattern can occur and it may be more difficult to activate the deep torso stabilizers.
3. Improve athletic performance
Breathing is the mechanism used to exchange gas between the lungs and circulatory system. Oxygen is transported to the working muscles to be broken down to create energy for muscle contraction. Therefore, if we maximize efficient gas exchange within our circulatory system we enhance muscular activity.
Make mindful breathing a habit
- Focus on your breath at set times. That could be when you first wake up, at lunchtime, before or after a workout, or before bed. Schedule 10 to 20 minutes twice a day to take time out to breathe to lower your blood pressure and decrease anxiety.
- Pay attention to your breath pattern during the day. When do you hold your breath? How fast are you breathing? What triggers this change in your breathing pattern? By acknowledging your breath more often, you’ll develop a greater sense of awareness, allowing you to take control and regulate the pace of your breathing when you put your mind to it.
- Combine mindful breathing with your regular daily activities. When you’re out for a walk or run, during a stressful meeting, while taking care of the kids or cooking, focus on your breath. Deepen your inhales and exhales and acknowledge how this affects your actions.
Developing mindful breathing habits will serve you in many ways. During these trying times, you can call upon your new skills to help you get through the stress and overwhelming feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.
Next time you feel anxious, nervous or scared, try to slow your breathing and focus on the act of inhaling and exhaling. This will calm you, and more often than not, will help you get through the task at hand.