Sometimes we take breathing for granted, because, well, we normally don’t think about it. However, we are challenging you to really notice your breath.
Do you normally breathe deep? Slow? Fast? Shallow? Loud? Quietly? Did you even notice when you inhaled AND when you exhaled? Most of the time breathing is such an automatic action, many of us don’t notice the small details.
Now, take a deep breath. How does that change your duration, speed and quality of that breath? Did it feel different when you were active in the inhale and the exhale?
Benefits of Breath
- Awareness: Actively paying attention to your breath puts you acutely aware of exactly where you are the moment
- Grounding: Deep breathes natural bring you more comfortable in your body
- Pain Relief: Some find the focused breathing helps with pain relief
- Relaxation: Focusing on something as basic as your breath allows for your body to naturally relax
Yeah, we know, that sounds weird. But just like we encourage clients to practice their comfort measures before labor begins, practice breathing can help to see a) what feels right and b) make it feel more normal and helpful. If you went into labor just reading that you need to take deep breathes, you may have no idea what that means.
Inhale, Pause, Exhale, Repeat
As you take your deep breath in, try filling your diaphragm instead of your lungs. If this is challenging to isolate, push your stomach out as your breath in to encourage your diaphragm to be engaged in the process.
So now that you have all this fresh, beautiful air in your lungs, hold on to it for a second. Only a few seconds is necessary, but it feels great. See what feels right for you.
An important aspect of using breathe is noticing the inhale as well as the exhale. So often the inhale is thought of as the important of the process, but I am going to propose that the exhale is what is important, especially when the goal is to relax. If you inhale for 10 seconds, try to make your exhale 15 seconds. See how that feels different and how it changes your mood.
Different Breathing Techniques
- Vowel Sounds: Making vowels sounds while you exhale can help you find what feels relaxing to you. Try taking a deep breath, and make a different sound on each exhale. What’s you favorite letter?
- Horse Lips: Just like it sounds, exhale like Mr. Ed. This is a great way to release any tension you may be holding in your face and body. Plus it can be fun!
- Cooling Breath: If you can curl your tongue, this is a great way to feel a bit cooler during these hot summer months. Simply curl your tongue and open your mouth slightly, take a deep breath in and long exhale out. Notice how the air seems feel cooler.