One of the most fundamental steps to all health and wellness is in learning how to breathe, and then actually doing it.
It is such a basic practice, and so easily overlooked.
Breathing not only allows us to deliver oxygen, our most important nutrient, to our cells. It also changes the rate at which our heart beats. This stimulates the vagus nerve, which then drives the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). All good.
The PNS opposes cortisol’s stress effects, and allows to rest and rebuild. have you heard the term “rest and digest”? This is all driven by vagus nerve function.
Breathe Deep: Slow Your Breath and Speed up your Health
Try this breathing exercise.
Sit in a comfortable place, put your feet on the floor, and straighten your back. This helps to elevate the ribs, and to make more room for the diaphragm to move.
Inhaling through your nose, take a slow inhale and count to 5. But while taking this breath, focus on really expanding the chest, pulling down with the diaphragm, and letting your belly pooch out.
Hold this breath here for one second, and then exhale. Here’s the trick.
The exhale needs to be longer than the inhale, so again using the diaphragm, exhale for a count to 6. See how many times you can repeat this practice.
Every time we remember to breathe deeply and fully; every time we become a bit more conscious of our breath; and every time we vary our heart rate and massage the vagus nerve, we get a step closer to turning around our health for good.
Practice this, and remember to take these deep breaths as often as possible.
Let me know how it makes you feel.