Breathing Lessons

The following is a guest post from Roxann Keyes of Center for Life Design.

Our lives are getting busier and busier, full of things to do, places to go and people to see. We often don’t have time for the fun stuff, let alone the stressful, hard stuff.

I find more and more that I am talking to many of my clients about the importance of the breath and breathing properly, because I can see they are holding their breath. It is the simplest way to keep yourself calm during stressful and traumatic times.

There is a saying: “Hold your breath, hold your pain.” The human body, as an organism, is always working toward homeostasis, or balance. When we don’t address the things we should, our body will. If we don’t manage our stress, our bodies will give us pain, either physically or emotionally, in the form of headaches, stomach aches, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, fatigue etc. as a way to make us slow down and pay attention.

When we hold our breath, our breath is shallow and we use our chests to breathe, actually also use our neck muscles to help us breath. This makes any neck, shoulder issues worse and creates even more tension.

Chest breathing keeps us in the sympathetic nervous system—the stress response fight, flight, freeze. Instead, breathing from our belly engages the parasympathetic nervous system—relax, digest, restore.

What is the proper way to breathe and why is it so important?

The proper way to breathe is to bring the breath all the way down into the belly. Rest your hand on your belly. Your hand should rise and fall with the breath, as if you were blowing up your belly like a balloon. It is easiest to practice this at night when you are laying down, before you go to sleep. Taking a full belly breath engages the diaphragm, which, when engaged, massages the internal organs and helps them do their job better. This allows the neck and shoulder muscles to relax and release their tension. Belly breathing also allows us to be calm and stay calm so we can make better decisions.

To create different patterns of thinking, behaving and produce different results, we need to go into the unknown, do something we haven’t done before. We must do what we are most likely afraid to do to make and have a change in our lives, only this will give you a different experience. A daily practice of proper breathing is the simplest way to start. A start to healing, a start to change.

The Importance of Breath

Written by Roxann Keyes, Learn more at lifedesignmn.com

Let’s talk about breath.  As a massage therapist, when people come lay on my table I can tell what their breathing pattern is like. Are they breathing shallow, full belly breaths or some where in between. You may ask why is this important? Good question. There are several reasons why how you take a breath is important. From a body, muscular aspect; if you are breathing shallow, meaning your tummy and chest is not moving, you are actually using your auxiliary muscles to breath. Those muscles are located in your neck. Using these muscles to breathe, can cause them to be over used, stressed and tight, which only adds to the tension in your neck, shoulders and head. Any muscle that attaches your head to the rest of your body is a potential headache muscle.

This kind of breathing makes it look like you are holding your breath. We have a saying in massage; “hold your breath, hold the pain”. Holding your breath can make your bodywork more painful and your life. When you do not get enough oxygen to your cells, brain and muscles, you are not operating at your best. You lack clarity, ability to make decisions, energy is low and you may feel tired and clumsy.  Emotional stress rises, along with anxiety and physical stress. All things that I see an increase in these days in my office with clients. So breathing is life sustaining and very important. A good body breath should fill and move both your chest and your tummy. You can check yourself easily, by placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your tummy to see what moves, then make adjustments from there.

The is another form of breath that is equally important, this is the Higher Mind Breath. It is a specific breath technology developed by a woman from Australia. This breath is not a body breath, but a mind breath. It is a three part breath that dissolves the unconscious. What is the unconscious? All that negativity in your head, and life. The negativity  that you say about yourself, others and what others say about you. This negativity is called the negative mind. The negative mind tells you all that your are not. This specific breath, brings you back to your core which is love and self-acceptance. In doing this breath you will operate from a place of love and wisdom.

If you would like to learn more about breathing and the Higher Mind Breath, give me a call and set up an appointment. I would love to hear from you.

In the mean time, have a great day and keep breathing deep.

Body Wisdom

Written by Roxann Keyes, Therapeutic Massage Therapist, www.LifeDesignMN.com

During divorce we are so focused on listening to attorneys, financial advisors, children, or friends, that
we never think to listen to our body. We often think that our minds are the most valuable part of us as
humans, but what about our body’s wisdom? You know that sensation; the clench of the jaw to keep
from saying something awful, those butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, and the hairs that
stand up on the back of your neck when you’re afraid. That is the language of the body-sensation, and it
is trying to tell you something and trying to help you. Pain is a great example- when we feel pain in the
body it often means something is not right. The kind of pain will often inform you on the course of
action, do I need an ice pack or hot bath. Should I take ibuprofen, or something stronger or do I need to
go to the doctor.

Take a moment to stop, right now and take a couple of nice deep belly breaths. Notice how you’re
sitting, where your body comes in contact with the chair. What other sensations do you become aware
of? Are you hot or cold, numb, tingly? Do you notice tightness somewhere? Ask your body what it is
trying to tell you. The language of the body is much slower than our minds, so take your time.

By taking the time to notice sensation, you’re calming the nervous system and increasing your ability to
think more clearly and therefore make better decisions, and better decisions make for less stress, and
less stress makes for a happier you.