The Offices of Jessica C. Sullivan LCSW, PLLC

Close this search box.

A friend and I were once in one my favorite bookstores, The Spotty Dog, looking at books with the themes of philosophy, spirituality, and mindfulness. We began discussing breathing with intention and purpose. I concluded that “When we can control our breathe we are better able to control our life”. My friend had a different, and powerful, take. He responded “I do not completely agree. We are kidding ourselves if we think we are in complete control of our lives. But, controlling our breathe allows us to have control of how we take action towards life.” Many years have passed since this conversation in the bookstore but it has been one of the more insightful moments.

My yoga teacher has explained in numerous ways how many people can go through life without having the opportunity of having a true breathe. Perhaps you can focus on your breathe for a moment. Where is it coming from? I have often asked this question in classes, or during individual sessions, and a common response is from the chest or rib/lung areas. Are you expanding on an inhale? Not always. At some point we have heard the term “Suck it in!” in which we inhale deeply and suck in our bellies for the effect of being more slim. Here are the common blocks that do not allow many of us to experience the breathe as a mode of relaxation and intention.

The best part of intentional and mindful breathing is that it can be done nearly anywhere. Deep breathing can be practiced while working at a desk, driving, watching television, etc. Let’s try it. Sitting up tall place one hand on the belly and one hand on the chest. Take a few normal breathes and take note of where the breathe is coming from. Now, it is time to adjust. When you inhale, feel the belly expand first leading the breath up into the lungs, then the chest, and lastly the throat. Hold it for a moment. When you begin to exhale, release the breathe slowly, feeling the chest drop then the lungs, and lastly the belly sinking in. This practice of Long- Deep Breathing itself has many benefits including:

Another popular technique of mindful breathing is Alternate Nostril Breathing has a number of benefits to find calm during the trials of life. The breath in this technique is also deep and relaxed.

How to Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing:

The benefits of alternate nostril breathing include:

These two types of intentional breathes are useful for when it is time to have a mental time out and time for self-care is needed. Each breathe can become effective in as little as 3 minutes and can be continued for up to 31 minutes. Sometimes it can feel like life is out of control and not within our grasps. However, in good health, we have control over our breathe and how we continue to use it. With that we have control over ourselves during unprecedented times, times in which we are stressed and overwhelmed, or in the moments when we simply need a breather. The importance of control of the breathe allows us to have the realization that we can be in control of ourselves.

Sara Pitcher, MS, MHC

Psychotherapist / Kundalini Yoga Instructor

Interested in learning more breathing and relaxation techniques. We have several Clinician’s who specialize in this area and offer private sessions to share their wealth of knowledge and techniques with you to help calm your nervous system.
Reach out today to schedule your virtual session