Just Breathe: Learn it, live it, know it
By Marnie Bonn
Taking a breath is the first and last thing that a person does in life. It’s such an intricate part of our human existence. With all the uncertainty in the world right now, there is so much we can’t control. Anxiety and stress is at an all time high, but “if we can learn to control our breath we can learn to control other things,” says Lauren Childs, founder of Ebb & Flow Movement Studios.
It’s crazy to think something so habitual to us can make such a difference in the way we live. Breath is the connection to life and death, the connection to anxiety, to our movements, to bringing life into the world.
“To only look at it as an involuntary reflex that just happens on its own is naive. We can learn a lot from learning to breathe correctly,“ says Childs.
When people breathe too fast, like hyperventilating, or too shallowly, it can stimulate the nervous system negatively and can cause an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide which will cause negative effects. Ginger Aldridge, therapist and founder of Alliance Counseling Services, says “you can teach any age how to breathe properly” and “breathing exercises are the most underrated skill.”
We don’t always notice or think about how we are breathing, but once you pay attention it’s a game changer. From a mental standpoint, when dealing with anxiety or being overwhelmed, it helps to calm down and just take some deep breaths in and out. When talking about breath in relation to exercise it's really important to help when trying to achieve certain specifications. As Joseph H. Pilates, creator of the Pilates Method, said, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,” and in order to be fit it all starts with practicing your breathing.
At Ebb & Flow, the “instructors teach clients how to embrace their mind and body’s true potential through healthy movement and lifestyles. By emphasizing the importance of positive mindfulness, attentive breath, and diverse movements within one’s exercise practice, the individuals strengthen their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing while bonding with fellow participants.”
Childs, an App State alum, wants to encourage students on campus to take advantage of the classes and resources like yoga, pilates, and gyrokinesis, because they are all great places to learn about breathing techniques, why it’s important, and how to get better control over it.