Belly breathing. It's about being intentional with our breathing and can be like a reset button when we are experiencing anxiety or stress. Belly breathing allows more oxygen to fill our lungs which is then transported to cells throughout our body on the inhale, eliminating carbon dioxide on the exhale. Done properly, belly breathing can help stimulate the vagus nerve creating a relaxation response. Crazy, right?!
When under stress, the sympathetic nervous system is engaged: you'll know this as the fight or flight response. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, does kinda the opposite when engaged, and instead relaxes the body. The vagus nerve talks to the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes the body. Whether you want to take a few meditative breaths as a practice or calm anxiety/stress, belly breathing will help stimulate the vagus nerve.
If new to belly breathing, it's easiest to practice while laying down but you can do this sitting upright as well:
Place your right hand on the belly. Notice the air moving in and out of your body. Keep your hand on the belly.
Slowly and gently breathe in through the nose and allow the air to fill in your lower belly, expanding the belly as much as possible.
Hold the breath as if to pause.
Slowly and gently breathe out through your mouth, emptying your belly. Think about pulling your belly button to your spine.
This practice really does relax you and it's a wonderful way to start the day. It's also a great tool to help control stress or anxiety: at home, at work, in the car, anywhere. Give it a try ❤
With Love and Sparkles,