“Whether you are prone to anxiety and panic attacks, or could just use some more relaxation in your life, using breathwork intentionally is a great easy way to improve your mental and physical health.”

Follow along with the animated video to breathe for relaxation! 

Benefits and Uses

There are many benefits and reasons to focus on intentional breathing such as:

  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Relieve muscle tension
  • Help you fall asleep
  • Improve body awareness and mindfulness
  • Improve mental clarity and focus
  • Increase lung capacity and ribcage expansion
  • Improved oxygenation of blood

Be intentional and mindful.

Try it today:

Set aside time anything from 2-3 minutes at your desk at work, to 20 minutes lying down or in a meditative position

The Wonders of Breathwork

I discovered the wonders of breathwork in my mid 20’s, after experiencing years of general anxiety and occasional panic attacks. I was referred to a counselor trained in biofeedback therapy, and learned to use rhythmic breathing to slow and regulate other metabolic processes. 

When we are feeling anxious, our heart rate speeds up, we produce more sweat, we may have a sudden urge to run to the bathroom, our breathing becomes shallow. 

“When we are feeling anxious, our heart rate speeds up, we produce more sweat, we may have a sudden urge to run to the bathroom, our breathing becomes shallow.”

All of this happens subconsciously, as a normal defense mechanism to cope with stressful situations. Some people are more prone to experiencing this than others, and it can feel hopeless to get it under control at times.

But there are many things we can do to turn that around and take control of our body and mind!

Whether you are prone to anxiety and panic attacks, or could just use some more relaxation in your life, using breathwork intentionally is a great easy way to improve your mental and physical health.

You can do it anywhere, any time!

There are many breathing techniques out there. For me, focusing on an inhale through the nose of about 5 seconds, and an exhale through the nose of about 8 seconds is ideal. 

Try it yourself!

Use the animation above to give it a try. 

Tip: Place your hands on your belly or ribcage to give yourself some tactile feedback. 

Starting Out

When you first start to work on deep breathing like this, it can be a little uncomfortable. Your body may not be used to taking such deep breaths repeatedly.

You may have a tendency (like many others) to breathe shallow or hold your breath when you’re focusing or stressed.

You may have a tendency (like many others) to breathe shallow or hold your breath when you’re focusing or stressed. This can create tension in the soft tissues between the ribs as well as the diaphragm muscle.

Give yourself some grace and allow your body to tell you what feels good. If 5 seconds inhale and 8 seconds exhale doesn’t feel right—try 4 and 6 seconds and see if you can work your way up. 

The key is being rhythmic and consistent. 

Try counting or watching an animation to keep you focused.

Happy breathing!

Jami Kohlmann, LMT, CLT, CPT, CES, CAFS is the Massage Services Coordinator & Personal Trainer at Mettler Center. 

Call 217-356-6543 to schedule a massage or a free 30-minute personal training consultation.

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