Breathe OUT to Calm and Settle

Breathe OUT to Calm and Settle

“Take a Big Breath IN!”

How many times have you heard that, as advice for how to relax and get calm?

Guess what?? It’s not the breath IN that helps our body to calm and settle. It’s actually the breath OUT that does that. Hmmmmmm….

Here’s the deal: The OUT breath taps into your Parasympathetic Nervous System – which is the branch of your nervous system that in part helps you rest, digest, settle, and calm.

Conversely, the IN breath taps into the branch of your nervous system that activates and arouses, gets you ready for action: the Sympathetic Nervous System.

Pretty cool, eh – that the simple act of breathing actually has all those links!!

What this means is – if your desire is to CALM and SETTLE – then focus on the breath OUT.

For me, that’s helping me this week as I get ready to go out for a surgery… I get a new knee ligament (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) inserted into my left knee in a few days!! So, if I start to get a bit wound up about it, I am focusing on my OUT breath – and my body calms and settles quite quickly.

Magic! (Well, smart body actually 🙂 My mind just needs to remember that I can do this! ).

Check this out for yourself. What is YOUR experience – how does focusing on your OUT breath feel to you, compared to how focusing on your IN breath feels??

Then you can use which ever focus you want and need, for a particular moment or task eh. Fun!

Happy exploring –


About the Author:

Violet van Hees is a movement freedom specialist who works with people (and with horses) to release tightness and pain, and to transform body "stuckness" into something that you can work with. We then use what emerges to create new freedom and ease in your movement and in what you do, in ways that feel safe and reasonable - and that work - for you. Violet is a Feldenkrais® Practitioner, a Tellington TTouch® Equine Practitioner, and a BCRPA Trainer of Fitness Leaders. She works with a deep interest in and understanding of biomechanics, neuroplasticity, body response to trauma, energy work, and how we learn.

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