What if I told you that, in order to relieve stress through something as simple as your breathing, all you have to do is make yourself look pregnant? Yeah, you heard me: I'm not talking about literal pregnancy, though, so don't freak out just yet.
“Breathe in,” says Poppy Jamie, a 27-year-old doe-eyed former TV personality who is regularly spotted alongside Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevingne. An odd request, but nevertheless, I inhale. “You’re not doing it right!” the Brit squeals giddily, pointing out that I’m raising my shoulders rather than expanding my stomach.
As founder of The Breathing Class™, Dr. Belisa has taught and lectured nationwide on topics related to dysfunctional breathing patterns and stress. Unique in its straightforward approach, The Breathing Class™ addresses both physical and psychological problems related to oxygenation that is out of balance, and teaching people to breathe in an anatomically congruous way that maximizes balanced inhales and exhales.
Are you doing anything right now? Of course you’re not—you’re reading wellness articles on the Internet. Why don’t you take a moment out of your rigorous afternoon of self-improvement and indulge in a long, deep breath? Inhale for six whole seconds, expel that air, and record, very specifically, what your body is doing while this is happening.
Now we do it up to 20 times a minute, around 30,000 a day... so you would assume that we would be experts at it by now... but think again - according to Dr Belisa Vranich, breathing is something we could all improve on. The correct breathing by an athlete can give the 0.1% increase in performance; the possible difference between gold and silver.
Dr. Belisa Vranich is the Director of Breathing Science at the Ash Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City. Dr. Belisa began her career as a clinical psychologist with the intention of having a long-standing therapy practice. As she explored different methods of reducing stress, Dr. Belisa developed an interest in yoga breathing and martial arts-based breathing techniques.
The mental and physical stresses of modern life, such as anxiety, frustration, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, high blood pressure, digestive woes, and immune dysfunction can all be addressed through conscious control of your breath. In addition, it can increase energy, accelerate healing, improve cognitive skills, and enhance mental balance.
Whether you’re dealing with co-worker chaos or pressure to perform on a project, it’s difficult to excel at work when you're extremely stressed. Can’t escape the office? Take a cue from real-life soldiers and try a technique called tactical breathing—also known as combat breathing, four-count breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing—to lower your heart rate and regain control of your breath.