We all breathe – it’s essential to life. But what you might not realize is that breathing is also a necessity for good health; it’s a powerful tool for healing your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
For one, breathing fully and freely can put us back in touch with the essential rhythm of life. Think about watching a baby breathe. A baby inhales and exhales fully and freely in the now, just as we were meant to breathe, with no past to remember or future plans to worry about. With each inhale, the baby takes in life and with each exhale, she lets go and gives back.
As adults, we tend to take small, shallow breaths and may even stop breathing for short periods during stressful or mentally taxing situations. When this happens, we’re depriving our bodies of oxygen and we’re creating more tension in the mind and body. We’re also losing touch with what’s happening in the here and now.
Becoming aware of your breath can help you get back into the present moment. During recovery, deep breathing can be very regenerative and restorative and help cleanse the toxins that have built up in your body and mind from years of substance abuse. Breathing properly can also help motivate you on those days when you’re just tired and worn out from the hard work of recovery. And, lastly, breathing can help you let go of any stress or toxic patterns of worry or tension by sending a message to your brain to calm down and relax.
Breathing Exercises for Recovery
Adding breathing exercises to your recovery routine is a simple way to practice proper breathing and become more aware of the healing powers of breath. Breathing exercises are pretty easy to learn and you can do them anytime, anyplace – and without any special tools or equipment. There are many types and levels of breathing exercises, including:
- Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”
- Abdominal or “Belly” Breathing
- Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”
- Kapalabhati or “Skull Shining Breath”
- Progressive Relaxation
- Guided Visualization
- Roll Breathing
Here’s an example of a stress-busting belly breathing exercise, adopted from the Healthwise:
- Begin in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying flat on your back.
- Place one hand on your belly (below your ribs) and the other hand in the center of your chest.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, letting your belly push your hand out. Note: Your chest shouldn’t move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips (like you’re whistling). Use your hand on your belly to push in the air.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times, taking note of how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Whole Body Healing at Segue
We know that a successful recovery depends on healing your mind, body and spirit. For more information about how our addiction recovery services can help you or someone you love care for your whole self to be your best sober self, contact a Segue Recovery Specialist today: 866-905-4550.