You’ve been breathing your entire life and some of us can improve our techniques despite years of practice. Go ahead and think about your breathing right now. Are you breathing using your thoracic diaphragm?
If you’ve attend a yoga class then you might be familiar with the technique of breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth using your belly. It turns out that breathing that way is really good for you. It relaxes your mind, lowers your blood pressure, and it’s all thanks to the stimulus of the vagus nerve. Check your breath before you wreck yourself.
When it comes to effective vagal maneuvers, any type of deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing—during which you visualize filling up the lower part of your lungs just above your belly button like a balloon…and then exhaling slowly—is going to stimulate your vagus nerve, activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and improve your HRV.
Some people make time every day to practice diaphragmatic breathing as part of a yoga or mindfulness-meditation routine. Others only take a really deep breath anytime they catch themselves feeling “panicky,” need to have grace under pressure, or want to relieve some frustration. All of these applications of diaphragmatic breathing can reap huge benefits.
Yoga can be an effective treatment for back pain according to new research. Before you sign up to any random yoga class for your back be sure to check what poses are actually good for you. The research team involved yoga instructors who specifically identified yoga poses and routines that are gentle on the back but also good for reliving back pain. Yoga isn’t just for staying fit, it’s also good for alleviating pain.
When the study began, about 70 percent of the patients were taking some form of pain medication. At the end of three months, when the yoga classes were wrapping up, the percentage of yoga and PT participants still taking pain medication had dropped to about 50 percent. By comparison, the use of pain medication did not decline among participants in the education group.
“It’s a significant reduction,” says study author Rob Saper, director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center.
“I’m not recommending that people just go to any yoga class,” Saper told us. He pointed out that their research has helped nail down poses and relaxation techniques that are helpful and safe.