Person sitting and meditating using breath-work to regulate their nervous system

How does our breath impact the nervous system? Let’s talk about it…

In our fast-paced lives, stress can take a toll on our nervous systems. If only there was a way to take a break from the stress and the business of the mind.

Enter breath-work – a simple yet powerful practice that is gaining recognition for its ability to soothe the chaos within, providing a sanctuary for our nervous system and promoting overall well-being. Our breath, just a deep breath in and breath out, can have a major influence on our whole body and our parasympathetic systems.

The Nervous System

Our autonomic nervous system, with its sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, regulates crucial bodily functions. Chronic stress can over-activate the sympathetic system (fight or flight), leading to adverse health effects.

Breath-work and Parasympathetic Activation:

Breath-work shines in activating the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting the “rest and digest” response. Techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, alternate nostril breathing and NSDR (non sleep deep rest) signal to the body that it’s safe to relax, reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

Oxygenation and Stress Reduction:

Conscious breathing enhances oxygen exchange, benefiting mental health by reducing anxiety and improving mood. Breath-work fosters mindfulness, bringing clarity, focus and emotional balance.

Incorporating Breath-work:

The beauty of breath work is you can notice the benefits even after 5 or 10 minutes a day, allowing it to fit seamlessly in to busy schedules.

In summary…

Breath-work offers a shortcut to calm, providing a foundation for well-being by nurturing your nervous system. By making conscious breathing a daily practice, you embark on a transformative journey toward resilience and grace in facing life’s challenges. Take a deep breath and embrace the power of breath-work for your nervous system and overall health.

Here is one of my favourite guided breath-work meditations that is only 10 minutes long:

– Liah

Published on February 1, 2024