I love a good workout. No really, I do. The way your body feels after giving your all. The rush of endorphins. And the release of that day’s acute stress. But there’s one part, in particular, I love most. And that’s getting in tune with my breathing when I’m cooling down and stretching. I do my best to be as mindful as possible during this time. I notice my heart rate begin to calm and recenter. And I feel the energy coming off of my fatigued muscles. I also count my breath, forcing my brain to stay with me as I’m cooling down rather than jump into anxious thought about the past or future. I’ve started teaching guided cool-down breathing exercises/meditations between workout classes on Monday nights at PFP. Here is one of my favorites, which I call “4-5-6 Breathing.”
I used to be a person that said, “Thank goodness breathing is involuntary, I’m so busy I think I’d forget to do it.”
Our relationship with our own breath is extremely important, yet it’s a relationship we take complete advantage of. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. Think about it. How do you breathe when you are relaxed? Maybe a longer pace? A bit deeper? This isn’t a coincidence. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. You know those things that happen when you are stressed? Such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure – those all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
Why You Should Start to Practice Breathing Exercises?
The way you breathe affects your whole body. Plain and simple. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress. They are easy to learn. You can do them whenever you want, wherever you want. On the bus on the way to work. In your car before heading into a dreaded Dr.’s appointment. In your cubicle when your boss gives you a last-minute deadline. Plus, you don’t need any special tools or equipment to do them. Breathing exercises are like physical exercises in the fact you can try a number of different methods to see which one works best for you.
The 4-5-6- breathing exercises practice is one that I use with frequency. I’ve used this exercise at night before bed, after a hard workout, and even during my workday. It is a truly versatile tool to help you de-stress, focus, and feel amazing!
The directions are simple:
Inhale for a count of four seconds.
Hold the breath at the top for five seconds.
And then exhale for the length of six seconds.
That’s it! Keep breathing in for four, holding for five, and breathing out for six seconds. Set a timer for 1 minute to start and once you get used to this type of breathing you can work your way up to longer times. But what I love about this exercise, is that it literally only takes a minute in order to feel real results.
Want to Learn More about Breathing Exercises?
On Monday nights, as a part of the 5:30 PFP Power Hour Class, I will be teaching guiding breathing exercises during the cooldown portion to end class. I’m also taking questions at the front desk both before and after that portion of class for anyone who is interested or simply curious about holistic lifestyle coaching techniques. Chronic stress is something that affects all of us and increases all of our risks for disease, no matter how healthy we are. Health is a cycle, and it’s when all of our systems work together that make it thrive. If stress management is something you’re craving, if you downloaded a meditation app and feel like a failure, if you downloaded a podcast about mindfulness and it sparked intrigue, schedule a FREE consultation with me! If you have goals you would like to meet, working with a coach is a great way to reach them! Holistic Lifestyle Coaching is specifically useful for health-related goals! These goals can include feeling better, being more energetic, finding motivation, and reducing stressors. Furthermore, make sure to check out our PFP Holistic Lifestyle Coaching page for more information!
Peace and Light