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Breathe calmly

In times of stress, anxiety, or frustration, you've probably been told, "Relax, take a deep breath, and calm down." Have you tried it? I mean, have you really tried it? Many mind-body exercises, such as yoga and meditation, use breathing techniques to relax and focus. Breathing exercises are an easy, fast and effective way to achieve this goal.

Did you know that more than 90% of people are experiencing breathing problems without even knowing it? The most common problems are breathing through the mouth, breathing too fast, and chest breathing (not with the abdomen).

Fight & Flight

Slow and diaphragmatic breathing can help you exit the state of mind 'fight or flight instinct'. This breathing activates the vagus nerve. This nerve is the longest nerve in your body and it "wanders" around your organs. It is a nerve that affects the organs in such a way that your body can enter the state of ‘rest and digest’. In this resting state, your heart rate slows down, the blood pressure lowers, pain reduces, and your airways widen so you can breathe easier. This is important because stored energy often manifests itself in muscle tension and other physical conditions.


Respiration is designed to absorb oxygen so that it is transported through the blood to the organs. Oxygen is converted by the body into carbon dioxide (CO2) and then exhaled again.

Nasal breathing

The mouth is for eating, the nose is for breathing. The nose cleanses, moisturizes and warms the air you breathe. In addition, you produce nitric oxide (NO) in the sinuses of the nose. This substance dilates your blood vessels and bronchi, and increases blood flow and oxygen supply to parts of the body that need it most. In this way, it can lower your blood pressure and, for example, have a beneficial effect in radiation therapy.

Abdominal breathing

By breathing slower and especially prolonging your exhalation, you widen the airways and calm your body and mind. Try to make the exhalation last four times as long as the inhalation. In addition to widening your airways, health problems will decrease with abdominal breathing (diaphragmatic breathing).

Good belly breathing is something you can work on yourself. Try abdominal breathing again, and again in an hour. Make it a habit. This is something you can practice yourself and it will make you feel a lot better.

Good abdominal breathing is performed as follows:

  • Sit, lie or stand in a comfortable position. Make your back long, but stay relaxed. Close your eyes, fold your hands over your belly button and draw your attention to your breath;

  • Breathe deeply through the nose and feel your belly expand;

  • Exhale long and controlled through the nose, pulling in your navel;

  • Try to make this breathing as smooth and relaxing as possible;

  • Now add visualizations to your breathing if necessary. Imagine that the air you breathe spreads rest on your body. While exhaling, imagine exhaling stress and tension.

You can adjust the number of beats to a rhythm that works for you. The starting point is that the exhalation lasts longer than the inhalation. You can then work towards an inhalation of, for example, two counts and an exhalation of, for example, eight counts.

"Smile, breathe and go slowly." ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

Marlies Tobias

(Yoga Teacher E-ryt 500, YACEP, breathing trainer)


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