Breathing and posture key foundations

Breathing

Breathing

Breathing is something we do everyday and although it is an automatic process for most, being mindful of how to change your breath can improve your mood and have other physiological benefits.Breathing is something we do everyday and although it is an automatic process for most, being mindful of how to change your breath can improve your mood and have other physiological benefits.

The Facts: – Relaxed efficient breathing requires less effort and gives you more energy.- Breathing through the nose will regulate the correct air intake and activate a physiological response (the parasympathetic system) that reduces   stress levels.- Good posture enables you to breathe more effectively and efficiently. The upper neck and shoulders should be relaxed when breathing comfortably. Breathing with exercise: Different types of exercise have their own breathing techniques. The important thing to remember is simply not to hold your breath when exercising.

For most types of exercise, aim to breathe out with effort – the hardest part of the exercise which is often the lifting part of the exercise. Also aim to breathe through your nose; if your exercise intensity increases then mouth-breathing will naturally occur. When working on core stabilising exercises aim to maintain a relaxed breathing pattern. Holding your breath when performing core exercise will increase intra abdominal pressure, your core muscle won’t stabilise and your efforts are wasted! Exercise types such as Yoga utilise breathing with movement patterns.

The breathe in corresponds to downward movements, and the breathe in comes with upward movements. This type of breathing pattern helps with movement patterning and body rhythm. Nasal breathing (through the nose) is also practised, which is why Yoga is known to reduce stress.

Try these exercises:

  • Breathing and Posture·
  • Sit comfortably, place the hands across your abdomen then lengthen through your upper back. (your hands should then be apart slightly)·
  • Take a long breath out through the mouth (like a long sigh) to reduce upper shoulder tension.·
  •  Breathe in through the nose for the count of 4, then out for the count of 4.
  • Repeat this while being mindful of your posture.

If you are someone who holds your breath, start with breathing in for the count of 2 then out for the count of 4.

Breathing and Stress:In stressful situations it is good to concentrate on your relaxed breathing. Good breathing technique will have an autonomic effect, reducing cortisol production – the stress hormone, and improve endorphin production – the ‘feel good hormone’.Breathe out through your nose, pause, then let your body breathe in for you.Make the breathe out longer.

This will reduce the upper chest breathing pattern with raised shoulders which is often associated with stressful situationsIt may be helpful to have 3 audible(loud) sighs to reduce tension in your body before you commence your breathing awareness exercises. Practice your breathing drill in a variety of situations so that it will become automatic during the day.