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Better breath for better health

It’s easy to become so caught up in our daily routines that we forget to acknowledge the most important and necessary bodily function- the breath. How it is that breathing is a fundamental function that helps everything else perform in the body, yet we carry out many of our days not strengthening it?
The oxygen that we breathe is vital in carrying food energy throughout the body via the bloodstream. After taking a few deep breaths, notice how much more energized and alert you feel. It is almost like drinking an espresso!  What if we practiced energizing, deep breathing techniques every day?  Would our lungs strengthen, energy levels rise, and body feel better overall?  I believe so…
Weight loss is so often a journey of self-awareness. We all want to lose weight to look better and be healthier. Making these lifestyle changes can allow us to see not only our bodies in a new light but our minds as well. Once the new sensations and discoveries of weight loss begin, old patterns are questioned. This forces us to be mindful of what we are eating and why we are eating it. Is my body truly hungry or am I stressed from a hard day of work?

We need energy to sustain a healthy lifestyle and as we start to consume healthier foods energy we are able to pair it with better breathing practices. Try practicing these two different techniques throughout the day at least once a day and see if you notice a difference.

1- Ten deep breaths (best for increasing energy): 

To start sit up straight, uncross your legs (if in a chair), and throw shoulders back. Close your eyes and start with the first 5 breaths being a quick deep inhale and a quick forceful exhale. From there have the last five breathes be a deep inhale and a long, slow exhale. Then just pause for a moment and see how the body feels. Feel free to continue on, an added bonus would be to step outside and practice this breathing break with the fresh air!

 2- Grounding Breath work (helps focus on busy days): 

Try and find a comfortable crossed-leg position sitting on the floor. If the hips are tight it is always helpful to prop yourself up on folded blankets or a pillow. You can also sit upright in a chair. Create a nice tall spine and take a deep breath.  On your right hand, fold in your index and middle finger into the palm. This leaves space for your nose in between your fingers. Take your thumb to the right nostril and the ring finger to the left nostril. First, press the thumb against the right nostril and inhale left.  Second, close off left nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the right nostril. Repeat by inhaling through right nostril and exhaling through the left.  Continue in this pattern for at least one minute.  Once completed, take a nice deep breath in through the nose, deep breath out the nose, another deep inhale and then open the mouth and exhale out.

Another great time for a few deep breaths is right before eating. Even just a couple of slow focused inhales and exhales prior to eating can allow the body and mind to slow down and bring awareness and pleasure to the eating process.  Slowing down and taking conscious bites of your meal can generate a positive relationship with food, help you recognize its nutritional value, and will assist you in achieving healthier goals.

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