When stress levels are high, the last thing you want to hear is “just try and calm down”. Still, you know that’s exactly what needs to happen—but how? In-the-moment stress can feel like a ton of bricks on your chest, and breathing is the last thing that comes to mind. However, breathwork acts as a compounding effect. It gets easier and more accessible the more you do it.
Today, we’re sharing our take on breathwork, what it is, and three of our favorite benefits of learning to intentionally breathe.
*Image by @wayhomestudio
WHAT IS BREATHWORK?
Put simply, breathwork is the practice of actively and intentionally inhaling and exhaling to reach a desired outcome. Sometimes this can be an increased heart rate to prepare for something like a cold plunge, or it can be to slow things down and get ready for bedtime. Most often, it’s a practice used to get grounded and present in the moment. It’s no surprise people often say to take a deep breath before an exam, hard conversation, or performance.
There are so many different ways to practice breathwork, too. You can be seated, standing, laying down, moving, or a combination of all of the above. Of course, we’re breathing all day, but the specific act of controlled breath requires concentration. This type of practice is different from our 24/7 involuntary breathing.
3 BENEFITS OF BREATHWORK
Whether you want to give breathwork a try for fun, or you’re seeking a specific result, there is a
method and tempo that can help. Depending on your goal, breathwork can look like an equal
amount of time per inhale and exhale. For example, inhale for a count of 4-3-2-1 and exhale for
a count of 4-3-2-1. Or, it can be heavier in one direction, such as 4 counts for an inhale and just
one or two per exhale.
1. Better Sleep
If you’ve never heard of the vagus nerve, it carries signals all throughout the body, including our
brain, heart, lungs, and digestive system. One study found that by calming the vagus nerve via
breathwork, insomniacs were able to improve their sleep.  They specifically practiced 20
minutes of breathwork before bed. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be worth trying a few
slow inhales and exhales before counting sheep.
2. Reduced Stress
In the spirit of chilling out, breathwork is an incredible tool for helping to reduce stress.
Oftentimes, stress is caused by thinking about past or future problems, whereas breathwork
does a great job of grounding us in the now. One study found that deliberate breathing could
help not only reduce stress as measured by cortisol levels, but also improve mood.  If you’re
ever feeling both stress and moodiness coming on, a few deep breaths may be a good place to
start in turning things around.
3. Improved Physical Performance
Now that you have a few tips on how breathwork can help keep you calm and collected, it’s time
to amp it up. Deliberate breathing exercises can also help improve your overall performance—in
and out of the gym. Whether you need to feel sharp and alert for a big speech or want to
optimize oxygen utilization and recovery time for a heavy lifting session, controlled breath is a
great tool to turn to. 
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Dandy Blend is not a supplement or medicine. Any health related questions or concerns, we always recommend consulting with your primary care physician.
*Banner image by @freepik