Fitness,  Inspiration,  Lichen Sclerosus,  Pelvic pain,  Spirituality,  Vulvodynia,  Yoga

Breathe for better health

And everyone’s like: “Yeah… we all already breathe?”
– But I’m talking about actually BREATHING here!

HAPPY MONDAY Y’ALL!

The focus on breathing is highly underestimated I must say.
The POWER breathing has on your body is amazing!

I got into yoga about 5 years ago, but it wasn’t until last year I really started paying attention to my breathing, and boy it’s such an amazing tool for my healing, both mentally and physically.  Many people do yoga only to get a good workout, but breathing is such an important tool as well.
Anyone who comes to my yoga classes knows how much time I spend talking about breathing, and to breathe properly.
Breathe through the postures, breathe as you’re resting, stay in the present moment by focusing on your breath.
Yoga is breathing! It’s the connection between the body, mind, spirit and breath.

So what does it actually mean?

Well, too many of us only breathe into our chest and not doing the “deep belly breathing” – getting the diaphragm involved. It is said that there is a huge part of our respiratory system we are not using because we only breathe into the upper part of the chest (we’re not even using out entire lungs to breathe properly). Which can cause pain, stress, and worry.
The breath circulates new energy into the body, increases blood flow, but also makes it easier for us to slow down our heart rate.

You activate and relax muscles in your entire abdomen that might have been forgotten. When you’re doing a plank for example, do you focus on your timer or on your breath? I promise you, since I started working on my breathing my ability to activate and work my core has improved tremendously. Once you’ve found a connection with your breathing and you’re holding a plank, focus on breathing into the lower abdomen, your plank will feel completely different. For someone with lower back pain, and have always had a hard time working my core properly (especially without holding my pelvic floor too tight), I can finally feel my core working! It’s amazing!!!

Some other benefits of breathing properly:

  • Improves posture
  • Removes toxins out of the body (did anyone mention doing a detox? First: start breathing properly, drink water, workout, eat fibre rich food, and poop.)
  • Fights away stress
  • Relaxes the body
  • Decreases pain
  • Calms the mind

One way I like to focus on my breath:
Lie down or sit up straight (easier to start lying down if you are new to this), relax the shoulders away from the ears and tuck the chin slightly. Feel the back of your head and the connection down your neck, through your spine, all the way down to your sacrum, the base of the spin.
Take an inhale through the nose and notice your breath through your body. Is the chest rising, the rib cage expanding, the belly rising? You want that belly rising as you are using the diaphragm to breathe. Exhale through your nose. Take another inhale and breathe all the way into the belly, and as you feel your belly rise notice your low back, your hips, your pelvic floor. Do you feel an expansion? A release? Feel your breathing, feel your body!

There are so many different ways to find that deep belly breathing:
Just focusing on your belly rising, not the chest or the rib cage
Fill up the side of your rib cage with air
Breathing into the belly first, then rib cage, then lungs

For me it was easier to start following my breathing through the body, without changing it too much.

And you might wonder why I say inhale and exhale through the nose. Breathing out through the nose calms the nervous system down even more, because the air is leaving the lungs more slowly than it would if you were breathing out through your mouth. We are also balancing both nostrils, it is said that in this way we are connecting to both sides of the brain.

“The nose is made for breathing, the mouth is made for eating. So, if you breathe through the mouth, I will have to push food up through your nose!”
– B.K.S. Iyengar

There are however moments, and yoga poses when we breathe out through our mouth.
Enjoy your week and let me know how you go!

With love and kindness,

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