Quick Breathing Tips for Enhanced Health!

You have heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” That is not entirely true. You are not just what you eat, but what (nutrients) you absorb. And just because you take deep breaths does not mean the oxygen is actually getting to your tissues! 

When our bodies are oxygen deprived there is a greater chance  of muscles weakness/pain, “fogginess” or poor mental focus, sluggish digestion, insomnia, and even frequent sickness/infections. 

If you want to read more on the breathing subject, check out “The Oxygen Advantage” by Patrick McKeown. 

Here are a few quick and easy breathing tips that will enhance your health! 

1. Sit up straight (or lay down on the floor)

The straighter your spine the less compression on the lungs and more access to your diaphragm. 

Speaking of the diaphragm, it is the dome-shaped muscle just below the heart and lungs and is the primary muscle for breathing. Most of us are shallow breathers, meaning we only breath into our chest area.

2. Breath through your nose.

Your mouth was meant for eating, and your nose was meant for breathing. There are many benefits to nasal breathing but I am just going to mention two. Nasal breathing improves your body’s ability to utilize oxygen. As I mentioned above, the oxygen will have a better chance of getting to all of your muscles. Nasal breathing also stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system – rest, relax and digest part of our nervous system. 

*Practice breathing with your diaphragm:

Place your one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. While inhaling through your nose, allow ONLY your belly-hand to rise. Follow that with a natural exhale through your nose. Continue for about 30-seconds or more. 

Once you have “mastered” that. Inhale through your nose with your belly rising, THEN allow your chest to rise for the last part of your inhalation. Follow by a natural escalation through the mouth. “Belly – Chest.”

*Bonus, you may even feel your back expand. If you are laying down then feel your back body (upper and lower ribs) press into the floor on your inhalations. If you are sitting up then feel your back body expand into your clothing. 

*click here to read more about the the importance of diaphragmatic breathing (XPT link)

3. Breathe to calm or energize your body and mind.                                                      To raise your energy (upregulate) before a workout or event:

 Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. 1 breath in, 1 breath out (1:1)

To calm your energy. (Downregulate) during a stressful moment or before bed: 

Inhale through your nose for 3 seconds, and exhale through your nose 5-6 seconds. Studies have shown that if takes an exhalation of at least 6-7 seconds for your body’s parasympathetic nervous system to kick in (AKA the signal for your body to “rest and recover.” 

All parts of our body function better with more oxygen!


  1. Learn to breathe with your diaphragm.
  2. Shut your mouth… AKA practice nasal breathing. 
  3. To calm your mind and your body, exhale slightly longer than you inhale. Shoot for 5-6 breaths per minute.  Inhale 4, hold 2, exhale 6. If that is too challenging at first, start with inhale 3, hold 2, exhale 4. 

Mindfulness Lessons From a Recovery Asana Junkie (Part 1): Inner stillness is the key to outer strength

“Inner stillness is the key to outer strength”

13 years ago I would have (internally) rolled my eyes at that quote. I was a devout “Yogini,” or rather, “Asana Junkie,” hitting the mat 4-6 days a week and sometimes taking 2 classes in a row (3 hours!). To me, outer strength was outer strength and Yoga was just another workout for me. Westernized Yoga can be very competitive; I never competed with anyone else in the room, but I did compete with myself. My Drishti (focus) was 100% on me. Drishti is a technique of focusing one’s mind on a specific point so as to eventually see our own truth and sense our connection to everything and everyone around us. We are all one. We are all Divine – and THAT is actually what Yoga is supposed to be about.

FYI, the word Yoga, literally means Unity.

I can’t say that my Drishti back then was bringing me closer to anyone other than maybe my chiropractor. Like many yogis-in-training, I mistook the technique for the goal. I could stare down a point on my mat for my 3 hour classes no problem because I was there to sweat… and nothing could get between me and my workout.

Flash forward 13 years and I realize my Drishti HAS actually taught me a lot about connection. Through practicing inner stillness (AKA meditation) I am able to observe my opinions, and even prejudices that prevent me from seeing and feeling unified with others.

I am by nature an introvert and get my batteries recharged from solo time, but I also LOVE spending time with strong women. Women with their own ideas and a different perspective about our world (hence the creation of SPL retreats ;)
Sometimes our personalities mesh and sometimes they don’t. It is when they don’t (mesh) that it helps to get quiet. And what I mean by get quiet, is meditate.

My favorite description of Drishti is: To see past our outer differences to finally see our inner essence or truth.

Where does your mind go when you do not agree with someone’s opinions or actions? Do you think ugly things or believe that you are better than that person? What is your current truth?

Are you even aware of that little voice in your head?

As a psychology and sociology major I geek out on discovering why people are who they are, and do what they do. Through my own journey of self-discovery, my greatest lessons have been found not by analyzing others, but by becoming aware of my own emotions and reactions (or non-reactions) to people and situations.

So here are two simple steps towards Unity.

1. Awareness
Awareness of our own thoughts.

2. Acceptance.
Acceptance of our differences.

Both can be attained through getting quiet. Focusing on one point (Drishti) whether that be a candle light, or just your breath. The actual point of meditation is not clear your mind but to notice when you get distracted and bring yourself back to your Drishti. Start with 5 minutes and work up from there. You may find that you actually start to crave meditation time!

I now see that inner stillness IS actually the key to outer strength. Not necessarily physical strength, but more importantly STRENGTH OF CHARACTER. Humility, compassion, and patience can bring us together. Because we ARE actually all one.