"Take a deep breath." We've all heard it, said it, or thought it, right? And for good reason. Our breath has SO much power to change the way we feel. It's pretty incredible. Proper breathing is a game changer to improve athletic performance, calm anxiety, and clear our minds.
We start every Butterfly Kids Yoga class practicing breathwork and we always use what we learn throughout class. Here are 2 great techniques for you to try at home.
DEEP NOSE & BELLY BREATHING
How to do it: Start in a comfortable seated pose. Sit up nice and tall. Place one hand on your belly. Inhale slowly, using just your nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Pause at the top. Exhale slowly, feeling your belly deflate. Repeat 3 times, taking in a bit more air on each inhalation. Be sure to use only your nose and go slow.
Benefits: Sometimes called "healthy breathing". Nose breathing boosts nitric oxide, a powerful immune-boosting molecule that is produced in the sinuses during nose (not mouth) breathing. Nose breathing also provides the body with more oxygen, which leads to more energy -- and improved focus. A very effective technique for athletes.
FINGER TRACE BREATHING
How to do it: Hold out your left hand with all 5 fingers spread wide. Place the index finger of your right hand on the outside of your left thumb. Inhale using just your nose as you trace your index finger up your thumb and exhale as you trace down your thumb. Pause here -- in between fingers. Now, inhale as you trace up your left index finger, exhale as you trace down. Pause. Repeat up and over each finger.
Benefits: Reduces stress and anxiety, promotes better blood flow, releases toxins from the body, clears the mind, and aids in healthy sleep. A great technique to do before bed.
I learned back in my children's and teen certifications that we breathe 26,000 times a day. It's just a matter of HOW we breathe that can make all the difference.
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