July 19, 2019 by John Fernandez
#BaptistHealthy In Motion: Power of Breath
De-stress, focus and wind down with these simple breathing techniques that can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, lower stress and improve sleep. You can do them any time of the day.
Chantis Mantilla, Ph.D., community health manager at Baptist Health South Florida, recommends you start slow with a few seconds of breathing breaks, and work your way toward longer periods of time, taking the time to breath and focus.
Video by George Carvalho
Exercise 1: Rise and Shine 1:1:1 Breathing
The morning is a ideal time to practice breath work before your mind starts to focus on the day ahead.
- Rest hands on your knees and close your eyes.
- Slightly tilt head downward to help your focus come inward.
- Breathe in and out through the nose and tune into the rhythm of your breath.
- Inhale and notice lungs become full, pause for a moment and exhale fully.
- Repeat the cycle, gradually increase the length of each inhale, pause and exhale, keeping the 1:1:1 ratio.
- Start with 4 to 6 seconds, over time increase to 8 seconds.
Exercise 2: Belly Breathing Break to De-stress and Refocus
- While sitting on a chair, place both hands on your belly, feet flat on the floor, back straight and shoulders back.
- Inhale: Breathe in deeply through your nose and let your hands rise with your belly.
- Exhale: Breathe out through your lips and gently let your hands fall inward helping to press out the breath.
- Focus on the sounds of your breath as you feel the rise and fall of the belly.
- Slowly repeat between 3 to 10 times.
Exercise 3: Wind down Breathing for Better Sleep
- Lying still while practicing deep breathing relaxes your muscles and will help you wind down mentally to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
- Lay down comfortably on a mat or on your bed.
- Left hand on chest, right hand on belly, legs apart and relaxed (can use a pillow under your knees to relieve any lower back discomfort).
- Inhale: focus on the rise of your chest and belly.
- Exhale: focus on the fall of your chest and belly.
- With each inhale scan your body from head to toe and on the exhale release any tension you may feel.
- Practice for 10 to 20 minutes before bed.