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Just Breathe; Right? Not So Fast - There's More To It Than You Think!

atlanta breathing dr. krystal pelvic floor recovery stress management Jan 26, 2023

Breathe in. Breathe out. We’re alive, so aren’t we already experiencing the benefit that our breath gives us? Not exactly. There is a difference between conscious and unconscious breathing and the kind we do 99% of the time is unconscious. However, intentionally practicing conscious breathing strategies is one of the most accessible and effective ways in tapping into a host of health benefits that mimics what some medications do. Breathwork has shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease stress and anxiety, and alters the experience of pain due to its connections to the autonomic nervous system1. The techniques outlined here will be focusing on the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which allows the body to “rest & digest” moving away from stress, anxiety and pain. There are many different techniques but between my background as a yoga teacher and pelvic health physical therapist, I have selected four that I teach the most. It is also important to note that each of these involves a form of deep diaphragmatic breathing. The breath for each of these should equally expand all parts of the abdomen, the back ribs, and the belly and chest rise together. These can both be done lying on your back or seated, but I prefer seated to maintain alertness and focus. 

For Pelvic Floor Connection
A connection breath demonstrates the yin and yang of inhales with expansion and exhales with contraction. This is one of the first core exercises I establish with clients before progressing. 

To perform this:

  • Place one hand on the belly, one hand on the chest.
  • As you inhale slowly, both hands rise together, the pelvic floor muscles release their tension and stretch. Imagine like your torso is inflating like a balloon.
  • As you exhale slowly, both hands will slowly drop, the abdominals will brace, the pelvic floor muscles lift up and in, toward your center. Keep exhaling until you run out of air and notice your core engaging even more. 
    • Think of lifting a marble up with your pelvic floor.
    • Use a rolled up towel to sit on like a bicycle seat to feel the pelvic floor tissues lifting and lowering.
  • Repeat for 10 rounds.

For Sleep
4-7-8 breathing technique can calm the mind, and relax the body with its exhale being longer than the inhale. 

To perform this: 

  • Inhale for 4 seconds.
  • Pause and hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  • Exhale slowly for 8 seconds.
  • Repeat for 10 rounds.

For Meditation/Focus
Equal breathing is inhaling and exhaling at equal intervals. This emphasizes diaphragmatic breathing with slow, full intention of each breath. The physiological benefits spread to the lungs improving lung capacity and immunity, slowing the heart rate and decreasing tension muscles. 

To perform this: 

  • Inhale for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale for 4 seconds.
  • Repeat for 5-10 rounds.
  • Gradually increase the time to 5, 6, 7 seconds with your rounds of practice.

For Stress/Anxiety
Alternate nostril breathing is commonly used in yoga practice to slow down the breath to reduce stress. In yoga, it is thought to balance and align the energy through the chakras of the body, balancing the left and right sides of the body. Below is the traditional way of practicing this technique. 

To perform this: 

  • With your right hand, close your peace fingers into your palm and bring your thumb to the outside of your right nostril and 4th finger to the outside of your left nostril. 
  1. Close the left nostril. Inhale through the right nostril. 
  2. Close the right nostril. Open the left nostril and exhale.
  3. Inhale through the left nostril. 
  4. Close the left nostril. Open the right nostril and exhale. 
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for 5 rounds. ​


Ready To Come See Us?


With consistent practice, you can call on these techniques to improve your sleep, mood, and pain. If you are in the Atlanta area, and are dealing with pain, pelvic dysfunctions disrupting your life, we can help you! Click the link above to schedule your session or request a 10-minute discovery call. 

In health,

Dr. Krystal PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200


Let us help you figure out to live your best active life today! 

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