Healthy Beginnings

Integrate deep breathing practices to create a powerful habit of positivity in 2018

Deep breathing decreases the fight or flight response within us, thus relieving anxiety and stress.

Diaphragmatic or deep breathing has several physical and mental benefits. Training our brains and practicing by doing the right things over and over creates strong, positive neural pathways to override the self-limiting ones.

Deep breathing is one of those “right” things that can be done throughout the day and can be done anywhere by taking a mini-break. It is a simple and effective brain training strategy, resulting in calmness, focus and improved productivity.

The effects are exponential and increase over time when creating a habit of frequent, short sessions of deep breathing.

The benefits of deep breathing go far beyond providing oxygen to our muscles and tissues. Focusing attention on our breath activates the senses and helps calm the mind. We possess the ability to make positive changes to our brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, through repetition.

The notion of neuroplasticity is that our brains are “plastic” and can be changed. Changing our brain by creating positive and powerful neural pathways, such as adding a deep breathing practice throughout the day, is an effective strategy in creating the new you in the new year.

Deep breathing decreases the fight or flight response within us, thus relieving anxiety and stress, calming us. This elicits the focus necessary for resuming the task at hand, even activities that are challenging and may not be particularly enjoyable.

Deep breathing relaxes muscle tension in the neck, back and pelvic floor, leading to easing pain. It brings awareness to and improves neutral spine posture, enhances positivity, improves lung capacity and the overall efficiency with our daily activities.

 

The Technique:

Deep breathing can be performed sitting or lying. Begin by sitting in a neutral spine position, equal weight bearing through your bones, slight curvature of your lower spine, feet flat on the floor or lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat.

Focus on your breathing. Notice any areas of tension in your body as you inhale and exhale. Take notice of how your abdomen, rib cage, pelvis and lower back feel as you inhale and exhale. Do they expand or feel restricted?

Now bring your attention to your pelvic floor muscles. This is a group of muscles that attach to the pelvic bone and the sacrum (located at the base of the spine). Notice any tension, discomfort or pain that you may have. While performing deep breathing, place an emphasis on the areas of tension or pain.

When inhaling, allow the abdomen to expand outward, and feel this expansion with the ribs out to the sides. Notice the pelvic floor expand and release. Exhale by allowing the air out of your lungs by relaxing at your ribs and abdomen, while allowing your pelvic floor to gently lift. Perform for one minute every waking hour by inhaling for 5 seconds, pause, exhale for 5 seconds, pause. Repeat 6 times.

Setting a timer on your phone or computer will help to integrate the deep breathing practice into your daily life and create a powerful new habit of positivity in 2018.

Dr. Karla Moore

Dr. Karla Moore is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified as a Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, specializing in Pelvic Health and solutions to persistent pain conditions. She is the owner of NeuroFit Wellness & Physical Therapy in Reno. Contact her at RenoNeuroFit@gmail.com or 775-863-8766. Visit www.RenoNeuroFit.com to learn more.