University of Nebraska Medical Center

Take a Deep Breath–You’ll Feel Better

Public Health Community Advisory
by Stacia Urbauer, Accountant, Office of the Dean

source: nccam.nih.gov

We are in the midst of the holiday season, and stress has set in for the winter. You can feel it in your shoulders as they reach toward your ears, you can even feel it in your toes. But not all stress is bad; there are wonderful stress situations—reuniting with family and friends, eating your favorite dessert, and time off of work! In order to remain healthy during the holiday season and energized as we head to our third holiday get together, let’s stop for a minute and breathe. Seems silly, but how many of us breathe properly, how many of us hold our breath? I am no exception, I hold my breath. I am a yoga teacher, I teach meditation and relaxation techniques to pregnant women, and yet I need to be reminded of the basics.

Today let’s take a moment and breathe. Dirgha breath is a three-part inhalation technique we use in yoga. The three-part breath refers to the belly, the middle chest, and the upper chest. This technique takes only a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

  • Sit in a comfortable position, or lay down on your back.
  • Swallow a few times to release the tension from your jaw; remove your tongue from the top of your mouth.
  • Bring your hands to your belly and feel it inflate (like a balloon) as you inhale.*
  • Move your hands up as you continue to inhale and allow your breath to flow into your middle chest.
  • Move your hands up higher as you continue to inhale and allow the breath to flow into the upper chest, lifting your chest up toward the sky.
  • Exhale, releasing the breath completely as you bring your belly button back toward your spine.

Take time to breathe and the stress of the season will melt away.

*Use a smooth breath. If you start to feel light-headed, stop for a minute and observe. Begin again, this time with a shorter breath practice (over a two-minute time frame instead of five).

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