Essential oils have always been a prefect partner to breathwork. Certain oils contain compounds which can calm down heightened emotions. They've anecdotally and scientifically been shown to calm the nervous system, sending signals from the olfactory bulb to the amygdalla (the primitive fight or flight part of your brain) that all is well. This calming influence allows us to breathe more easily, and also helps increase the efficiency of essential oils that open up the airways and deepen the breath.
At this time of year everything is on full speed. It's so easy to get caught up in feelings of anxiety and overwhelm as the to-do lists get longer. Added to that the generalised feelings of anxiety that have built up over the last 18months around covid and the news that another lock down might be on the cards and we all start to feel a little arghhhh!
I've been actively doing a 5 minute breathwork practice with a blend that I've used many times over the last 20 years to encourage flow and calm. The recipe below will make approx 5 ml (100 drops) of essential oil. Mix up the blend and keep to hand in a bottle, then whenever you feel overwhelm simply add approx 4-8 drops and inhale from a tissue. This blend will deepend and calm your breath which stimulates a feedback loop to the brain that encourages CALM. The blend also happens to contain Frankincense and Myrhh, rather appropriate for the Xmas season!
Calming Breath blend for Overwhelm and Worry:
40 drops Frankincense
20 drops Cedrus Deodora (Himalyan Cedarwood)
15 drops Geranium
15 drops Petitgrain (Orange Leaf)
10 drops Myrhh
Using Box Breathing to increase calm
Start your day inhaling this blend either from a tissue or in a burner, and then take 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening to practice box breathing. Try and breathe from your lower lungs, rather than upper chest when you do this breathwork practice - feel your diaphragm expand outward on the inhale and then rise upward on the exhale.
Box breathing is an easy practice that anyone can do and triggers an instant feeling of calm by massaging and stimulating the central vagus nerve. The vagus nerve system acts to counterbalance the fight or flight system and can trigger a relaxation response in our body. However, if you're asthmatic or having any breathing conditions, please investigate further or consult your doctor or asthma nurse before undertaking any breathwork.
Hope you've found the above interesting, as always ping me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!