The importance of breathing
Breathing for beginners
Belly breath is a grounding breath and calms the parasympathetic nervous system. This sense of relaxation anchors the body in the now, easing tension.
Mindfully focusing on your breath helps create a sense of calm and can be your saving grace, any time, anywhere. Kelly Watt, yoga teacher and co-founder of wellness centreTrue Food & Yoga, shares her beginners’ guide to breathing:
- Find a comfortable seat and bring awareness to the sit bones.
- Place one hand on the belly, inhaling and exhaling from the nose as the ribcage rises and expands.
- Pause at the top of the breath, soften the ribcage as you exhale and allow the breath to flow ‘ocean and wave’ – not forced or restricted.
- Imagine the breath in a circular pattern, inhaling and exhaling.
Think about your shoulders
Many of us hold tension in our shoulders and upper backs. Try incorporating shoulder rolling circles while you breathe, by lifting the shoulders up to the ears as you inhale, and peeling the shoulders back and rolling shoulder blades down your back as you exhale. Lengthen through your collarbones, opening the chest and ribcage for a spacious and expansive breath. Repeat three to five times.
Pranayama breathing (the control and extension of breath) has been shown to positively affect immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances and psychological or stress-related disorders.