Reduce Stress With Breathing Exercises Posted by Tiffany Amorosino on September 22, 2014 in

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At Bella Santé we offer a number of massages that relax, restore, heal, and center. An easy way to complement your massage therapy and maintain achieved results is by paying attention to your breath. Even if it's just for a few minutes each day, we recommend conscious breathing to  help you feel calmer, more centered, and even inspired! In fact, breathing exercises act as a mini-massage to the muscles of your back and chest where tension gathers, and by infusing every cell in your body with more oxygen, you feel refreshed.

Yoga Breathing

Yoga focuses on breathing as an essential element of a session. Because breathing through the poses is so important, yoga instructors sometimes tell their students to put their hands on their abdomens and feel the breath rushing into the deepest parts of their lungs. You can follow the same advice by feeling each deep breath expand your upper chest, your sides and your belly. Slow, deep breathing defuses tension before it ignites and turns into anxiety.

4-7-8 Method

Another classic breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 method that takes its name from the number of beats you take for each step of the technique. Breathe in through your nose while silently counting to four, then hold your breath for a count of seven, paying attention to how your breath fills your lungs. When you release your held breath through your mouth, do it slowly and mentally count to eight. By extending your exhalation, you push out more of the stale air at the base of your lungs, leaving room for fresh air on your next breath. This breathing technique activates the diaphragm and reduces tension.

Take a Breathing Break

You don't need to count to enjoy a breathing break. Just taking a moment to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while focusing on the rhythm of your breathing is often enough to quell rising tension. Unlike a full-body massage, it's something you can do for yourself almost anytime you have a few free minutes. At your desk after lunch, while waiting in the car to pick up the kids from school or even during a commercial break, you can take a literal breather.

The key to reducing stress through breathing is in changing your focus. When you're concentrating on the flow of air into your lungs from your nose and leaving your body through your mouth, you're tuning in to your body's natural rhythms. By slowing and deepening your breath, you pump your body full of oxygen while expelling excess carbon dioxide. Find your inspiration through respiration, and you'll feel better prepared for anything.