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Just Breathe

How to channel your breath to de-stress and relax.

By Kat Tudor

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Are you struggling with sleep? Have the kids gotten you down? Are you stressed by day-to-day traffic? The road to calm just might be as easy as changing your breathing patterns and channeling your breath.

According to a 2015 article published by Harvard Medical School, the practice of “deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange,” which can result in the stabilization or lowering of blood pressure and the slowing of your heartbeat. And, with a bit of practice, including “breath focus”—slow and deep breathing—can help you disengage from your thoughts and stresses.

See also Mindful Living with Meditation.

There are numerous breathwork techniques used to bring about different results. These methods include alternate nostril breathing, abdominal breathing, upper chest breathing, and fast or slow breathing, among others, according to Kris and Savanna Cassidy of Breakthrough Breathwork, who are leading a Breakthrough Breathwork Meditation workshop at Manitou Springs, Colorado’s SunWater Spa in early September. Their methodology utilizes “connected breathing, also known as circular breathing, to facilitate deep healing and transformation.”

To begin your home practice:

  • Start by finding a comfortable place to sit, away from your daily clutter. 

  • Gently close your eyes. 

  • Take a normal breath. 

  • Then take a long, deep breath through your nose. Breathe in slowly through your nose, as your chest and belly rise and the air fills your lungs. 

  • Now exhale or breathe out slowly through your mouth. 

  • Once you become comfortable with controlled breathing, you might want to incorporate simple imagery or a word or phrase to help you relax. 

Unfortunately, conscious breathing isn’t as simple as it seems. These two books, The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work and Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release and Personal Mastery Health, can help you on your journey with more sophisticated and focused breathing techniques, such as progressive relaxation, alternative nostril breathing and guided visualization. 


Beginning May 1, SunWater Spa will offer three-day packages: Refresh, Hydrate and Repair. The Refresh package includes a 30-minute Aquacranial session, 30-minute Ursa Minor facial, 30-minute Target Relief massage and 2-hour mineral spring soak for $180. The Hydrate package includes a 30-minute Watsu session, 60-minute Silk Road Wrap, 60-minute Cascading Falls facial and 2-hour mineral spring soak for $260. The Repair package includes a 90-minute Mountain Healer Massage; 30-minute head, scalp and Sole Renewal treatment; 60-minute Garden of Eden facial and 2-hour mineral spring soak. To book, call 719-695-7007 or visit the spa online.

kat tudorKat Tudor is the founder and co-owner of SunWellness Companies, as well as a yoga instructor and artist. SunWater Spa and SunMountain offers a variety of yoga programs, from restorative and gentle aqua yoga, to Ayurveda and a version of a traditional Hatha practice, Sivananda yoga, a 90-minute class with an alternating focus on movement, breath and conscious relaxation to bring awareness within and encourage calmness. More at

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