Nourishment & The Art of Breathing
By Faie Hennaberry, LMP
Breathing techniques and exercises make up an important part of almost all healing disciplines. It is thought by many cultures that breathing is the essence of being. Since breathing is something we can control and regulate it’s very useful for achieving a state of deep relaxation and mental clarity. The moment you breathe deeply, more energy becomes available in your body. Where there is energy flow, there is motion.
Practicing mindful breathing can help with stress related health problems ranging from anxiety to digestive disorders.
Breathing exercises are numerous and range from stimulating breaths to relaxing breaths as well as focused breathing for a mindfulness practice during meditation.
The Relaxation Breath Exercise
Lay down on your back, dim the lights and make sure that you’re warm & comfortable.
Let your feet fall out to the sides and place your palms upward slightly away from your body.
Scan your body and notice where you’re holding onto tension and let it go with your next exhale.
Now scan your body again from the top of your head and go slowly this time releasing more.
Inhale at a slow but comfortable pace through your nose as you breathe into your belly, expand it upward as you breathe into it and then allow your breath to fill your lungs. Relax your jaw and let your mouth fall open and as you exhale. Hang out in the exhale as you continue to let go of deeper and deeper tension in your body. Don’t inhale again until the lungs are ready for another breath.
This exercise is wonderful after a walk or exercise. Done at night with some gentle yoga stretches is a perfect way to prepare for a restful sleep.
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