Now that we know the benefits of breath work, let’s talk about some easy at home practices that are safe for stroke and TBIs.
An excellent first breath exercise is Diaphragmatic Breathing, more commonly known as belly breathing. This breath works by consciously engaging the diaphragm in a full and complete inhale and exhale, moving the breathing from your ‘chest’ to your ‘belly’.
Belly Breathing is beneficial for everyone because it encourages full oxygen exchange, the trade of oxygen that you inhale for the carbon dioxide that you exhale. This full exchange slows the heartbeat, helping to calm the body and lower/stabilize blood pressure. It’s also been found to help with symptoms of pain, anxiety, panic, or even depression; all emotions and challenges that stroke survivors and individuals with TBIs may experience.
The best part is of this practice is that it can be used whenever and wherever! So you can practice this breath before bed to relax or even when you’re out and need to feel more grounded and in control.
Belly breathing is just one technique that is taught in our adaptive chair yoga class which is taught completely online. This class is catered specifically for individuals who have experienced a stroke or traumatic brain injury. To learn more about our online chair ygoa classes, click here!
Sources: Harvard Health; NHLBI: Body Controls Breathing; US Department of Veterans Affairs