• Natalie Shuler L.Ac MSOM

Extend the exhale. How longer Expiration of breath helps the central nervous system.

Shallow breathing doesn’t give our bodies enough oxygen to function properly.

When our breath is consistently shallow or contracted; stagnant air, residue, and pollutants can accumulate in the lungs, which leads to low energy and toxic buildup. Deeper breathing cleans the lungs and relaxes the central nervous system.

Our outward breath (expiration) is neurologically tied to the relaxation response in the brain. An example would be sighing, which is usually an unconscious exhalation to help regulate our central nervous system. We sigh when we're relieved, we sigh when we are angry, we also inhale for regulation. The inward breath (inhalation) is neurologically tied to the stress response, that quick intake of breath is usually taken when we are in states of surprise or fear.

There is some really great research and studies done on breathing, methods of breathing, and its effects on the body, mind and spirit.

This review, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/ , presents a wide range of studies that illustrate how slower respiration rates and longer exhalations phasically and tonically stimulate the vagus nerve.

Using diaphragmatic breathing techniques to kickstart the calming "rest and digest" influence of the parasympathetic nervous system is referred to as respiratory vagus nerve stimulation.

Some of the benefits listed in the above study include:

Physical Health

Cardiopulmonary Effects Anti-Inflammation Physical Function

Mental Health Stress Relief Stress-Related Psychopathology

Cognitive Performance Cognitive Control Attentional Control Global Cognition and Creativity

Deep breathing should look like this:

Slow breathing techniques with long exhalation will signal a state of relaxation by the vagus nerve, resulting in more vagus nerve activity and increasing calm and relaxation of the central nervous system.

Frequently adopting slower respiration patterns with longer exhalations have shown beneficial effects on physical health, mental health, and cognition.

This slower form of breathing functions to move the central nervous system towards the rest-and-digest (grounding and nourishing) mode of operation and away from fight-or-flight (draining) mode of operation.

For more instruction on Breathing:

Breath - Class 2

Breathing with the spine