Can simply breathing a different way impact your health? Discover the benefits of resonant breathing & learn how to do it.
This post is sponsored by The Breathing App.
I mentioned in Wednesday’s post that I have a lot going on right now. While I enjoy being busy, I know there is a fine line between being just busy enough and having too much going on. When I start feeling the stress coming on, I take a few little steps to ease the anxiousness and keep the it bay. One thing that always seems to help is taking long, deep breaths, and recently I learned why that helps so much.
Taking a few slow, deep breaths each minute is called resonance breathing. When we breathe at a rate of 6 breaths per minute vs the typical 15-18, our heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, and brainwave function come into a consistent frequency, causing all kinds of wonderful things to happen.
The Benefits of Resonant Breathing
According to the creators of the Breathing App, Eddie Stern (a yoga teacher, author, and lecturer in New York) and Deepak Chopra (MD, FACP, NYT best selling author of over 85 books), there have been hundreds of scientific studies performed on resonant breathing, which show a wide array of benefits, including:
- Increases pulmonary function
- Lowers blood pressure
- Has positive applications for anxiety and depression
- Improves baroreflex gain
- Improves heart rate variability
- Tones the vagus nerve
- Increases resiliency
- Increases the ability to handle stress
- Leads towards emotional balance
- Clinical improvements in asthma
Why Does Resonant Breathing Work?
It all starts with our autonomic nervous system, which has two branches: the sympathetic branch, which helps us speed up and move toward activity, and the parasympathetic branch, which helps us pump the brakes and move toward rest. Each breath we take alternates us between the two.
However, when we’re go-go-going at the speed of life, we tend to rely more heavily on our sympathetic branch. We don’t pay attention to our breathing and therefor spend too much time in hyper-activity mode and easily get sidelined by anxiety and excess stress.
If we take the time to focus on our breathe and practice resonance, we bring our sympathetic and parasympathetic branches into balance. We tell our brains that we’re ok. We can transition from feeling overwhelmed to feeling calm.
Resonant breathing is like a stress reset button.
How Do I Breathe With Resonance?
It just takes practice.
I used to just take a few deep breathes whenever I started to feel stressed. Now I’m trying to make it part of my daily routine, and the Breathing App makes it SO EASY.
Eddie Stern, who created the concept for the app says,
While there are many apps that measure heart rate variability, or give guided breath meditations, I could not find something that was simple, well designed, and could help me do one, simple thing: regulate a proper resonance frequency of six breaths per minute. So, I decided to create one myself, and began drawing screens of what I thought would be useful for someone who wanted to practice resonant breathing. I wasn’t interested in tracking progress, gamification, metrics, or anything like that. I was looking for something that would help free my mind from the need to measure everything, and just help guide my breathing for a few minutes each day.
I have to say, he nailed it. This app is so simple and does what it set out to do, nothing more, nothing less. All you do is select how long you want to practice for (anywhere from one to thirty minutes) and your breathing ratio:
- Inhale for four seconds, exhale for six
- Inhale for five seconds, exhale for five seconds
- Inhale for six seconds, exhale for six seconds (true resonance)
- Inhale for five seconds, exhale for seven seconds
I’m starting with inhaling for four seconds and exhaling for six seconds for five minutes a day and will work my way up from there.
Then you select a type of screen to help guide your breath:
- A breathing ball, that gets larger to cue your inhale, and smaller to cue the exhale;
- A clock, that counts up on the inhale, and down on the exhale;
- Musical cues, for those who wish to breathe with their eyes closed, or to listen with headphones, on the subway, on a plane, or at work.
So far, I’ve only tried the clock, because it’s super straight forward, but I’m looking forward to trying the other screens.
I plan to try this each day before I start work to go in clear-headed and ready for action. If you are prone to stress, feel overwhelmed easily or are generally just curious, I can’t recommend this app enough. It just launched, it’s FREE and it’s available in the iTunes store!
And since it’s Friday, don’t forget to share how your staying healthy, fit and fashionable in today’s Fit & Fashionable Friday Link Up!
Do you focus on your breathing when your stressed?