Breathing - we do it naturally anyway, so why stop to think any further about it?
Well, it turns out that the way you are breathing actually helps to relax your body.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower your stress levels, both physically and mentally. When you breathe deeply, this sends a message to your brain to calm down, and the brain then sends this signal back to your body.
Deep breathing helps to lower your heart rate, blood pressure and rapid breathing - all signs associated with when you feel stressed.
Let's try two simple breathing exercises together:
Complete this exercise at least five times after you wake up each morning. You can also use it during the day, especially if your back is hurting from sitting at your desk.
- From a standing position with your knees slightly bent, bend forwards from the waist and dangle your arms so that your fingertips are as close to the floor as possible.
- Inhale slowly and deeply, and whilst doing so return to a standing position by rolling up slowly and gently, one vertebrae at a time, lifting your head up last.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds in the standing position.
- Exhale slowly as you bend forwards again and repeat the exercise.
Try this very simple exercise any time you feel yourself getting stressed and in need of some relaxation.
- Lie flat or sit down in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly - just below your ribs.
- Breathe deeply in through your nose, and as you breathe let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should stay still.
- Breathe out through pursed lips, and feel the hand on your belly go in.
- Repeat ten times, as slowly and deeply as possible.
Why not also try one of our online yoga classes here? Using the breath is an exremely important part of yoga, and combined with the poses can help you to further your sense of relaxation.