For the month of May, we are focusing on cell health and trying to demonstrate how the way you treat your body affects your health clear down to your core – no, not your abs, your cells!! Today, let’s talk about breathing.

Think the topic of breathing is a yawner? Guess again! Proper breathing is kind of a big deal. Not only for your state of mind, but for your state of health!

Did you know that our bodies release 70 percent of our toxins through breathing? Great! Get that gunk out! In fact, shallow breathing, (you know the kind you inadvertently do when you are stressed or anxious) actually accumulates toxins. Yuck. We don’t want that.

So, take a deep breath, and then a few more while you explore the following four deep breathing exercises that will help increase the oxygen supply to your body and even improve your digestion and metabolism.

1. Diaphragm breathing makes your abdominal muscles flexible and toned plus increases your lung capacity. Lie flat on the floor (or straight in your chair if you’re sitting up reading this) and observe your chest and stomach moving up and down while you breathe deeply. Try to breathe deeper and deeper with each breath. This is not best to do just after a meal.

2. Skull Shining breathing
strengthens the muscles of the stomach and can relieve respiratory problems. Sit in a comfortable position and inhale deeply and hold the muscles of your stomach tight and even while you exhale. Repeat 10 times and return to normal breathing for 5 seconds. Repeat the process three times.

3. Belly breathing focuses on your diaphragm and the muscles below your lungs. It boosts your stamina and energy and is can help with anxiety. You may sit or stand. Try to calm your mind and focus. Place your hand on your stomach, your thumb should be near your belly button. Your chest should not rise – only your abdomen should expand as you breathe deeply.

4. Mouth breathing pressurizes your abdominal muscles and gives you a refreshed and relaxed feeling. Open your mouth and exhale and inhale with while you count up to 10. The exhalation time should be double of inhalation time.

Ahhh….doesn’t that feel great? Want to learn some more? Tune in on Wednesday when we talk to Valerie Carlson, one of our nurse practitioners, on how functional medicine ties in to proper breathing and vice versa.