“Take a Deep Breath...”
Most of us have heard phrase “take a deep breath” in times of stress. I often catch myself taking short breaths or “chest breathing” when I am nervous- maybe rails have been raised during a riding lesson, I am deep in thought trying to solve a problem, and as of late, COVID-19 related issues including navigating the grocery store with social distancing.
Breathing properly is critical to both our mental and physical health. Explains Sheryl Ankrom, MS, LCPC, “Breathing is a necessity of life that usually occurs without much thought. When you breathe in air, blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a waste product that's carried back through your body and exhaled. Improper breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical and emotional disturbances (VeryWellMind.com) ."
Prior to this year, hot yoga was my only connection to breathwork. Unfortunately, I did not grasp its benefits because my goal for attending classes was to receive a cardio, core and stretching workout. A few life changing events have enlightenment me recognize the importance of establishing a personal breathwork practice. I did so with the assistance of professionals that helped guide me to the exercises that would benefit me most.
In equestrian terms, my practice is based on cadence and quality. When I catch myself shallow breathing or holding my breath, I take a moment to reset the rhythm of each breath to an even tempo and I change the quality of depth to one I can feel in my abdomen. These two fixes assist me to physically relax and increase my focus. Your practice may look quite a bit different based on your goals. From alleviating performance anxiety to achieving mental and physical wellness, the benefits of breathwork are endless.
A few links to get you started:
How controlled breathing helps elite athletes – and you can benefit from it too / TheConversation.com
“What is Breathwork?”/ Healthline
Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety. / VeryWellMind.com
Stay Safe & Healthy,
The content provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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