Have you ever tried breath work? Do you know the benefits of this ancient practice? For thousands of years humans have been utilizing controlled breathing techniques to optimize performance and improve health.
Benefits of breath work include:
Reduces acute stress and prevents health conditions associated with chronic stress (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety).
Strengthens immune function.
Reduces blood pressure.
Expands lung capacity.
Improves athletic performance by increasing blood oxygen levels throughout the body.
Regularly controlled breathing allows your body to develop stress reduction skills (physical and mental) which can later be utilized more easily during times of acute stress. By doing the work at times with little stress, it becomes second nature for your body to automatically regulate by taking slow/deep breaths in a stressful situation.
One of my favorite breathing techniques is called the 1:4:2 breathing method. For this, you inhale for a ratio of 1, hold for a ratio of 4, and exhale for a ratio of 2. For example, breathe in for 6 seconds, hold for 24 seconds, and exhale for 12 seconds. You can gradually increase the ratio for longer duration of holds over time. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, complete for 10 minutes. During breathing exercises, is important to always inhale through your nose if possible. Add this to your morning routine and notice the immediate benefits!