The next time someone says to take a deep breath and relax, they have the weight of scientific evidence behind them. (Read the NPR article here.)
While engaging in deep, slow breathing won’t exactly cure anything, it can stop those pesky stress hormones from taking over. And everyone knows that stress makes everything worse.
I like the idea that an act so seemingly small can have such a big impact on well-being.
Of course, in dance, breath is virtually everything. I had a wonderful instructor who liked to do at least 15 minutes of warm-up lying on the floor, focused on breath. She taught us that breathing is a three-dimensional act. It was a revelation!
So try this at home, either before hitting the sack or first thing in the morning. You don’t even have to get out of bed! Lie on your back and relax. The small of the back should start to naturally sink to where it is barely touching the mattress. Now take a long breath through your mouth, letting the air expand your entire body cavity. Feel it press your stomach out, your chest out, even the sides out.
Exhale just as slowly.
Repeat as necessary.