How to Breathe
The Link between Mental and Physical Health
As a yoga-based physical therapist for 10 years teaching proper breathing techniques, and owner of a two clinic women’s pelvic and physical therapy business, I am an expert in the link between mental & physical health. Most of the time they cannot be separated.
At Breathe Physical Therapy and Wellness, we work with women who have had pain for years. Many of these women also have gut problems, headaches and/or fatigue, problems sleeping and other hormonal issues like menstrual irregularity (long, short, heavy or absent periods, or terrible cramps). When working with someone for the first time, one of the first topics we discuss is mental health, asking if the client is nervous, anxious, worried, stressed or perfectionist. Most of the time the answer is YES!
Getting physically healthy means getting mentally healthy as well.
Three daily habits that improve mental and physical health include:
- 30 minute walk outdoors
- 15 minutes of free-flow writing (no editing) in a journal
- Deep, slow breathing before bed
Learning to breathe more efficiently and deeply calms our nervous system and improves cardiovascular health.
Here’s how to breathe:
- Lie down with knees bent and feet flat.
- Breathe, sending the breath into the low back for a count of 8.
- Pause and then exhale just as slowly, for a count of 8.
- Repeat 20 times before bed and reap the benefits in the form of more restful sleep, better digestion and improved lung capacity.