Deep breathing may seem simple, but it actually takes regular practice to be truly beneficial!
We suggest at least ten minutes a day. There are also many different ways to practice deep breathing, so try different techniques until you find what feels most natural and helpful for you. You can do this practice anywhere, but ideally for a full deep breathing exercise, find a comfortable seat in an upright position.
To begin, the simplest technique is to count your breaths. Start by counting 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale, 3 on the inhale, and so on. If you worry about your attention wandering, you can stop at 5, then go backwards to 1 and then back up to 5 again. It’s a good idea to set a timer or a goal for how many cycles you want to do before you begin.
Another practice is “Box Breathing” which is very useful in times of acute stress. With this technique, you inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, wait at the very end of the exhale for a count of 4, and then repeat.
We will share a couple more advanced techniques next week as well. In the meantime, remember to be patient with yourself if this is a new practice for you and to always exercise mindfulness while deep breathing. Register your emotions and the physical sensations throughout your body as you breathe but don’t judge them and don’t try to pursue them, try to just recognize them and then let them go.
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