Why Breathing Exercises Work for Stress Relief

In stressful situations, we know to “take deep breaths” to calm down. But why? In this post we break down the science of your breath.

One of the most important aspects of our Chorus technique is the active breathing practice we incorporate which helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Does that sound like a foreign language to you? Honestly us too, so we’ll explain.

The sympathetic nervous system is in charge of regulating bodily systems like heart rate, blood pressure, pupil dilation, etc. It gets activated during physical activity, which is great! It can also get activated as a response to stressful situations or thoughts, which can be not as great. It’s not ideal to have a text or email or a meeting increase our heart rate high enough to make us feel like we’re running a sprint. And it’s actually not great for our brain to constantly be activating the sympathetic nervous system during low stake moments. Enter the parasympathetic response!

Our parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of decreasing our heart rate and blood pressure in order to stimulate relaxation, sleep, and calm. And guess what activates this system? That’s right – your breath! The age old advice to just breathe during stressful situations is actually scientifically sound. Deep, focused breaths turn our parasympathetic system on, assisting us in accessing that peaceful meditative state.

The way we breathe in Chorus helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, dropping us quickly into that relaxed state where we can experience relief from stress and anxiety, mental clarity, and prepare ourselves for a sound night of sleep.

To experience this first hand, join one of our San Francisco classes, and we’ll show you everything you need to know!

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