Breathe. It’s time for your midweek Enchanted Breath! Got breath?
Have you been forgetting to breathe? What impedes your breath? Do you have a cold? Seasonal allergies? Stress?
Clear Your Airways
Whether you have a cold or are clogged to the max with seasonal pollen in your nasal passages, clearing them can help wash away the irritants. Some studies show that a saline solution restores moisture to dry nasal passages and sinuses, and curbs inflammation of mucous membranes.
According to WebMD, using a “Neti pot or a small squirt bottle for saline irrigation regularly, can help to thin mucus, give you less postnasal drip, and cleanse your nasal passages of bacteria.” Suggested use is to clear the passageways at the end of the day.
Stress and Your Breath
Stress can impact your breath and vice versa. When you’re stressed, you tend to take shallow breaths, which can make you feel light headed. When you feel light headed, you might faint. Often people say they fainted from stress, but in all likelihood, they fainted because they weren’t breathing. It sounds silly, but mindful breaths can keep you oxygenated, make you more alert, calm, and focused.
Breath and Blood Pressure
One in three people are challenged with high blood pressure that is not well controlled. Breathwork can help. Some of the leading causes of hypertension include high sodium intake, obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking.
You can see the actual impact on your blood pressure. The FDA has approved deep breathing as a treatment for lowering both stress levels and blood pressure. See for yourself. Take your blood pressure, preferably with a manual cuff, and then release it. Then take several deep and mindful breaths in to the top edge of your breathe. Hold it for the count of 4, and then release to the bottom edge of your breath. Pause and repeat as you breathe in slowly and fully, hold, and release. Take your blood pressure again and most often, it will be lower than it was before. In one study, this resulted in the systolic pressure dipping as much as 10 mm Hg…after only doing it six times. “Deep breathing triggers relaxation by reinforcing and activating the parasympathetic system.”
Oxygen and Sodium Elimination
When you pump enough oxygen to the body and brain through your breath, the kidneys are primed to break sodium down and move it out of your system more rapidly and efficiently. This results in a healthier and more balanced you.
Stop what you’re doing right now and do a six-round breath cycle. Release tension in your muscles as you inhale, hold your breath at the top, release. Rest for a moment and repeat until you’ve completed six rounds.
Enchanted Breaths are the “ahh, the haha, and the aha! of life.”
Of course this post is intended to augment your relaxation and should not be used for the purpose of any medical evaluation or treatment, or as a substitute for your own doctor’s advice.