Amazing Facts About Breathing from our friends at YogaBody
You can go for weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without breathing. Breathing has such an immediate impact on your mind and body that even the act of inhaling vs. exhaling affects your nervous system differently. It’s common to train in diet, exercise and even hydration, but almost no one trains their breath. This is a huge missed opportunity for health-seekers.
Did you know…
- Breathing can change your blood PH (acid/alkaline) in minutes. No food, exercise or medication acts as quickly.
- You can often determine your dominant nervous system state simply by placing your finger underneath your nostrils and exhaling.
- Reduced rate breathing can stimulate a rest and digest, parasympathetic nervous system state to help with sleep, stress, and anxiety.
- Rapid, pulsed breathing stimulates a sympathetic nervous system response to increase energy, prepare for exercise, or boost the body’s natural defenses.
- Diaphragmatic breathing massages the Vagus Nerve and reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress.
- Severe respiratory conditions like asthma can be successfully managed by increasing CO2 levels in the blood.
- Breathing can help reduce the fear of public speaking, improve digestion, reduce insomnia, lower stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
Benefits of trauma-informed yoga
The combination of yoga and trauma therapy is fairly new. But the benefits are pretty impressive.
It can help reduce symptoms of PTSD
One study showed that trauma-informed yoga significantly reduced the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the effects of it were comparable to well-researched psychological and medicinal methods. The study involved 64 women who were living with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. The women were randomly assigned to either trauma-informed yoga or supportive women’s health education. At the end of the study, 16 of 31 participants (52%) in the yoga group no longer met the criteria for PTSD as compared to six of 29 participants (21%) in the group that received women’s health education.
It can help you slow down and focus on the present
Trauma can send your brain into overdrive. You might find yourself constantly on guard and unable to relax. Trauma-informed yoga can help you focus on what’s going on in that moment and recognize what’s going on in your body. It also can help you focus on your breath, which as Brown mentioned, can greatly affect your mood.
It can help you feel more connected and balanced
When your mind is racing, your muscles are tense and you’re always on edge, you don’t feel like yourself — and you don’t feel like you’re safe. Trauma-informed yoga is practiced in a safe space with teachers or therapists who respect you and your boundaries. They can help you learn how to control and manage what your body and mind are going through. As you combine movement and breath, you start building back those mind/body connections. They can also help you understand and tolerate the sensations you’re feeling so you no longer feel like a stranger in your own body.