Whenever we see family or friends under stress, we usually say “take a deep breath and relax!”. It’s an expression of love and care, and breathing sure does make us feel better – if we do it in the right way!
Does it really matter how we breathe?
Big time! With the right breathing techniques, we can reduce stress, lose weight, keep the lymph flowing and relieve menopause symptoms.
I visited a yoga site one time, and the start of the article had a quote, “Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body”. So true!
Our body needs extra care during menopause. The easiest and quickest way to give support is by breathing right!
The kicker about breathing? It’s so simple to pull off and it costs nothing at all!
Incredible Benefits of Right Breathing Techniques During Menopause!
Breathing techniques are a big part of my daily routine. I just can’t start the day without doing them. Breathing right gives me balance and calmness. It has made my menopause journey so much better!
What intrigued me at first was how it can help with menopausal weight gain. How on earth can we lose weight by just inhaling and exhaling air?
When we breathe right, we boost our lymphatic system! It’s our body’s sewage system, an engine that cleanses the body and eliminates toxins.
Poor diet and exposure to chemicals make our body a dumping ground of impurities. These chemicals can cause inflammation, which makes us gain weight.
During breathing, we activate our lymph nodes and lymph. The nodes are sacs that serve as garbage bags and the lymph is a fluid that cleanses and collects all the garbage.
Besides helping us lose weight, a good working lymphatic system keeps your ovaries healthy. As a result, we can balance our hormones better.
Breathing right aids in weight loss by getting rid of carbon dioxide!
When we eat, our body turns excess calories into fat molecules that causes weight gain. These fat molecules are harmful to your arteries and they also increase the risk of stroke.
Breathing breaks down the fat molecules into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. The lungs will then expel these two from the body during exhalation.
In-depth information about these fat molecules in our FACT BOX at the end!
There’s more – breathing right helps us lose weight by boosting metabolism and digestion!
Increased oxygen in the body keeps our thyroid glands healthy, hastening metabolism, energy production and fat burning! It also makes your gut work well, meaning better food breakdown and nutrient absorption. All these can help us lose weight!
The right breathing techniques can relax the central nervous system and regulate cortisol.
When we breathe right, we produce more happy hormones like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. We are also able to regulate cortisol – a potent mood buster.
These feel-good hormones relax our central nervous system, nourishes our brain and relaxes the blood vessels. As a result, we are able to manage mood swings, stress, anxiety and depression and sleep problems. We can also lower blood pressure, hot flashes and night sweats.
What’s the Right Way to Breathe?
When we breathe, we get oxygen into our body. Oxygen fuels our body with energy and keeps all corners of our body healthy. We can go on without food or water for days, but not without breathing.
Dr. Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist, says that most of us are vertical breathers. This means we use our upper body to breathe. Our upper body isn’t meant for breathing, and this is why we experience neck and shoulder pains.
With one hand on the belly and one hand on the chest, inhale slowly through your nose. Feel your diaphragm expand and the belly rise. The hand on your chest should barely move. Pause for a while, and exhale through your nose. You are at rest and no muscles are active. The diaphragm relaxes and the belly goes back to its position.
We absorb more oxygen when we breathe through the nose. With its small opening, the nose creates greater air pressure which slows down exhalation. This gives our lungs more time to absorb larger amounts of oxygen. Besides this, nose breathing also:
- Helps fight off infections by filtering bacteria in the small hairs of the nose.
- Maintains moisture in your airways.
- Regulates body temperature because it acts as our body’s air-conditioning.
- Keeps your lungs strong because of greater air pressure
Mouth breathing, on the other hand, makes us lose a lot of water, which can lead to minor dehydration and fatigue. It provides free entry for bacteria and it weakens the heart and lungs. Mouth breathing also leads to snoring, shortness of breath and some experts even say that it changes how we look.
An old saying explains that each one of us have assigned number of breaths the moment we are born. If we know how to follow breathing techniques, it’s possible that we could extend our lifespan.
Dr. Vranich has a good video that I would like you to look at [10:25]!
How to Break the Habit of Mouth-Breathing!
The best way to change mouth breathing is to be mindful of how we breathe when we are awake! Once we get used to nose breathing while awake, we will also breathe the same way when we sleep.
Where do we start from here? Check out breathing exercises that I love and personally do! They’ve definitely made a difference in my menopause journey!
- Paced breathing – the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recommends paced breathing for menopausal women. It’s especially good for reducing hot flashes and night sweats. Do this breathing exercise on the onset of a hot flash and 15 minutes per day. The goal of paced breathing is to make a total of 6 to 8 breaths per minute. Dr. Sara Gottfried recommends paced breathing for menopausal women. She even demonstrates how to do it [1:21]:
- Alternate nostril breathing – this is one of my favorite breathing exercises! It’s a cooling breathing technique that relieves hot flashes, reduces heart palpitations and eases anxiety. This technique is about inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other one. Watch this video by Adrienne to see how she performs the breathing technique [10:57]:
- Deep abdominal breathing – this is the way that we should always breathe! Abdominal breathing expands your diaphragm to take in more air and strengthens your core muscles. Take slow deep breaths for 10 minutes each day.
- Guided visualization breathing – this breathing exercise goes well when you’re meditating. When we use our minds to guide energy flow during inhalation, it adds a calming layer to our breathing. This technique follows the principle of abdominal breathing. The difference is, we tell our breath what we want it to do (heal, love) and were we want it to go (neck, head).
More Tips When Doing Breathing Techniques!
Every breath counts!
I want to help you maximize your time while doing breathing techniques, so here are some great tips that I want to share with you!
- It’s easy to lose focus while doing our breathing exercises, so be sure to have a quiet little place for yourself. If you’re in a place with a lot of people, close your eyes. Counting also helps!
- Be in the most comfortable position you want. No rules!
- Make sure the sound of your breathing is audible. It helps you focus more on your breathing!
- Touch your chest with one hand and the other hand on your belly. Feeling the rise and fall makes you relax.
- Wear comfortable clothes as much as possible. Tight clothing can restrict your breathing.
- Use some essential oils to help you relax more! I love lavender, chamomile and peppermint when I do my breathing exercises.
More than losing weight or easing menopause symptoms, breathing helps you reconnect with yourself. It makes you focus on your body and how you can support the most basic functions to change your health.
Lose Weight, Flush Out Carbon Dioxide!
Carbon dioxide is a waste product of breathing. Both CO2 and water makes us gain weight. CO2 increases our pH levels, making it more acidic. This stimulates our brain and it increases our appetite. CO2 also hastens fat absorption. Water on one hand, seeps through our tissue layers, which causes swelling and weight gain.
Increase Oxygenation in Menopause
Oxygen is food to our cells. Together with the nutrients from food, oxygen nourishes our body and keeps our circulation going. Good oxygen levels in our major organs has positive effects during menopause! It can boost heart health, digestion, metabolism and more.
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Are you breathing right?
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This information isn’t only for, menopause women. Everyone should know and practice the right breathing! Be sure to share this article on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter!