Benefits of Breathwork During the Festive Season
As you may have seen, there is a growing amount of information, courses and hype around breathwork. The main type we utilise in freediving is the 1:2 ratio breath. That is we breathe in consciously for the count of 4 and controlled out for the count of 8.
Why you ask?
Our breath is the one of the few, fully automated systems, that we have access to that we can switch to manual and have control over it and override it.
The 1:2 ratio breath is the one type of breathwork that calms your system down quickly and puts you into your parasympathetic nervous system, producing a relaxing affect by slowing your heart rate through controlled breath, which sends a signal to your brain (via the vagus nerve) to tell the overwhelmed, annoyed or anxious part that you’re safe and don’t need to use the fight, flight, or freeze response, helping to lower blood pressure and control the release of cortisol. Deep, relaxed, slow breathing also gets more oxygen to the thinking brain and allows you to think clearer and more rational avoiding an emotional reaction.
Time spent in this practice, brings us closer to accessing this state and therefore our body remembers and responds quicker over time. So when you need it the most, the toolkit is there to calm you down.
During this fun, festive “silly” season, here is your reminder to stop and breathe whenever you remember to. Stay aware of your own body, stay conscious of your stress levels (especially in the shopping centres and traffic) and catch yourself when you feel tightness, stress or anxiety in your body. Usually we are unconscious of this state until it’s too late. Key physical indicators are clenching your jaw, sore neck, headaches, tightness in your chest, breathing shallow and rapidly or general agitation.
When you notice this in your body, pause, breathe in through your nose, deep into your belly, control and lengthen the exhale and let those shoulders and neck relax. When everyone is out and about and the streets and aisles get hectic, you can’t do anything about it, you have no control, but what you do have is control over your breathe. Practice this breathe technique as often as you remember. Your body will thank you, and you are the one who will benefit from staying calm whilst feeling less stressed and it will make your experiences much more enjoyable.
We teach this technique in great length during our Freediving courses on the sunshine coast, gold coast and retreats to prepare for our dive, so we can have a more successful, relaxed and enjoyable dive. As conscious humans, we can take these practices and apply them to our everyday life outside of the water!
Some well-known benefits of keeping in touch with your breath are: Increases energy and boost immunity, builds a stronger connection to your “self”, it can help manage pain, improves mood and therefore self-esteem, improves sleep and digestion, improves focus and creativity.
But my favourite of all? It just makes you feel better!