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The importance of breathing

Yasmine, one our W3 Club trainers, explains why breathing is so important and how you can get started

The breath has such a significant impact on how we feel because it is the gateway into our automatic nervous system that dictates how we think and feel. Put simply, breathwork is using your breath to change your state of being. Your state of being is a combination of your physical, emotional and mental health.

On one side of the ‘breathing spectrum’ you might have some simple 2-3 minute techniques that help transform you from being stressed to relaxed, or from being tired to energised. In the middle of the spectrum you might have more pranayama yoga breathing techniques, techniques that athletes use to make their recovery more efficient and techniques that use the breath to help you fall asleep. On the far end of the spectrum you find breathing techniques used in therapy to help with emotional blockages.

If you’ve ever been to a Yoga or Pilates class, you’ll know the importance that is placed on breathwork. This is in order to de-stress the body and stimulate the vagus nerve, which is part of the parasympathetic nervous system — our ‘rest and digest’ or ‘feed and breed’ phase. If you struggle to focus on your breathing to calm down your nervous system, then why not try this simple breathing exercise to get started:

  1. Breathe in for 4 counts
  2. Hold for 4 counts
  3. Breathe out for 8 counts
  4. Repeat 5 times

Have a go and see how you feel!