Breathing Practices


alternate nostril breath instruction

What are breathing practices?

Most people are not aware that how you breathe affects almost every aspect of your health. Since the way we breathe is something we can learn to regulate, it is a great way to manage your symptoms or just create more clarity, energy and calm.

We can learn to use breathing techniques to influence the Sympathetic Nervous System that regulates blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion and many other bodily functions. Breathing practices are a way to regulate those functions of the body of which we generally do not have conscious control.

Depending on your health and what you want to address, I can teach you specific practices that will have a significant impact on how you feel. For example, for anxiety and stress, there are simple techniques that can be incorporated into your daily routine that will produce a sense of grounding, calm and clarity.

What are the benefits of a breathing practice?

Research shows that breathing practices will do the following:
•Improve your sleep
•Reduces your levels of stress (reduces cortisol – the “stress” hormone)
•Supports your immune system
•Increases optimism
•Relieves anxiety and depression (mild, moderate and severe)
•Increases anti-oxidant protection
•Enhances brain function (increased mental focus, calmness and recovery from stressful stimuli)
•Enhances well-being and peace of mind

mountain breath with arm movements instruction

How do breathing practices work?

When you are stressed, either temporarily, or if stress becomes chronic, your Sympathetic Nervous System is stimulated and effects a number of physical responses. Our heart rate rises, we perspire, our muscles tense and our breathing becomes rapid and shallow. If this process happens over a long period of time, the sympathic nervous system moves into hyperarousal and this creates an imbalance that can effect our physical health resulting in inflammation, high blood pressure, muscle pain, high blood pressure, headaches, etc.

The breath can be used to manage the symptoms of stress as well as heal its underlying causes by directly stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System resulting in the Relaxation Response and a reversal of the changes seen with the stimulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System.

Depending on the symptoms you are managing and/or the desired outcomes you are hoping to create, a vast array of breathing practices are available.

You can learn to:

•change the depth or shallowness of the breath •change the speed of the breath
•change the location of the breath in the body •change the rhythm of the breath
•change the relative length of the exhale to the inhale
•change the left and right brain balance



Copyright © Robin Carnes 2016