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Tag: deep breathing

Deep Breathing To Support Hormone Balance

Hormones are a funny thing, aren’t they? 

 

When they’re in sync, we don’t worry about them. 

 

When they’re not, well, it feels a bit like our bodies are betraying us, doesn’t it? 

 

If you’ve been reading along for a while, you’ll know that there’s a lot that can be done to support hormone health  with nutrient dense food and high quality sleep.

 

And what about exercise?

 

Exercise is an amazing form of self-care and stress management that, in combination with consistent sleep and eating habits, can help bring balance to hormones like estrogen, progesterone and cortisol. 

 

And considering I’m more than halfway through my yoga teacher training, it would be remiss for me not to mention the incredible power of yoga to help balance hormones. 

 

The physical practice of yoga is beneficial of course, to help balance cortisol and adrenaline levels, however I really want to share the power of yoga breathing. 

 

Incorporating a few yogic breathing techniques into your day to day life can help reduce stress, which can have a positive effect on hormone balance.

 

Does the breathing technique help to calm you down?

 

 Let me know in the comments!

 

Do you want support to balance your hormones, reduce stress and stop mood swings?  Get in touch for a free 30 minute nutrition, hormone & menstrual health review to help clear the confusion.

 

Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach, trainee yoga teacher and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

 

Natural ways to manage mental health

Le'Nise Brothers yoga self care

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK and it’s so important that we continue to have these important conversations about mental health and wellbeing.

 

I know what it’s like to be depressed, anxious and have that feeling that you’re never going to get past it. I now know it’s possible to do this and I do a lot to manage my mental health and wellbeing. That means being vigilant about what I eat & drink, how I exercise, who I let into my life and having an active practice of self-care. I take things day by day.

 

I never used to talk about this side of me, thinking there was something shameful about my anxiety and depression, like I needed to hide it in order to present my best self to the world. Campaigns like this are important because it takes away the stigma and shows that talking about mental health matters.

 

What about you? Are you comfortable talking about your mental health?

 

The impact of food and alcohol on mental health

 

What we eat and what we drink (and what we don’t eat & drink) can have a huge effect on our moods and mental wellbeing.

 

Alcohol, for example, can affect our mental health simply because it depletes B vitamins and these are what we use to produce serotonin, our happy hormone. This is the ‘hangxiety’ that some of us experience after a few drinks.

 

Food can also help us manage our moods. Getting lots of veg, especially leafy greens and cruciferous veg helps feed the good bacteria in our gut and it’s this good bacteria that helps produce serotonin (that wonderful happy hormone!)

 

Yoga, yoga, yoga! 

 

Okay, you might read this part of the post and think I’m a bit biased. Yes, it’s true that I love yoga (I do at least 30 minutes every day!) and I start my yoga teacher training in two weeks time. BUT it really is beneficial.

 

Research shows that yoga can help us better regulate our response to stressful situations and can decrease our heart rate, blood pressure and how quickly we breath in and out.

 

It’s true that yoga can never stop anxiety and depression. However, the research shows and what I know from my personal experience, is that it’s an incredible way to proactively manage mental health and manage symptoms when they crop up.

 

I’ve been leaning on my yoga pretty hard recently, in both the physical and breath practice, in order to help manage the anxiety that a pretty wild family situation has caused. The simple act of being in the flows of the different poses helps my brain shut off and adding in the breathing helps calm me down and bring some perspective. I take my breath work into the rest of my day and it helps a lot.

 

Have you seen the benefits of yoga on your mental health? 

 

Try meditation

 

In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to add in a few minutes of meditation after each yoga practice. I do shavasana and then I go into my meditation pose. On my Instagram StoriesI’ve been calling what I do #reallifemeditation because for me, there isn’t a perfect meditation scenario. It’s about trying to squeeze it in where I can, in my day to day life, and trying not to let my mind wander too much.

 

I got an amazing message from one of my nutrition colleagues, which put what I’m trying to do in perspective. She shared something her dad said to her about meditation: it’s not about having an absence of thought, but merely observing your thoughts and letting them be.

 

So when I meditated earlier this week and thought about whether Meghan Markle was doing okay, whether she does yoga with her mom, remembering to floss before I went to the dentist, these were all thoughts that I now just need to observe, rather than stressing out that I can’t empty my mind.

 

Studies show that mindful meditation that incorporates breath work helps reduce noradrenaline, one of our stress hormones. So whether you can meditate for 30 seconds or 30 minutes, it’s can become a wonderful part of your mental health toolbox to help manage anxiety and depression.

 

Would you try meditating?

 

Get into the sun

 

Do you ever feel a bit anxious or depressed and then suddenly feel your mood lift a bit once you head outside into the sun? Some of that could be vitamin D!

 

Vitamin D is an incredible hormone (no, it’s not actually a vitamin!) that helps improve mood, build strong bones and support our immune system. We have vitamin D receptors on many of the cells in our bodies and the easiest (and cheapest way!) to get it is from the sun! ☀

 

Research shows that vitamin D plays an important role in regulating mood and keeping depression at bay, which explains why many of us feel a little bit better when we’ve got a bit of sun.

 

During the winter, it’s important to get your levels tested at your GP or privately to know how much you need to supplement. During late spring and summer, get outside into the sun! Just 10 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) is all it takes to keep your vitamin D levels topped up!

 

Do you notice a difference in your mood when you’ve been in the sun?

I Tried It: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Have you heard about alternate nostril breathing?

 

This is an incredible way of shifting your nervous system from fight or flight stress mode to rest and digest, relaxation mode.

 

You’re essentially breathing consciously, taking in more air and reducing your blood pressure.

 

I decided to try it after reading so much about it. Here’s how you do it:put your thumb over your right nostril and take a deep breath in through your left nostril. Hold, covering your left nostril with your index finger. Release the breath through your right nostril. Repeat, taking the breath with your right nostril.

 

I found that I was much calmer after doing this and any anxiety I was feeling started to drift away.

 

Try it and let me know how you feel!

 

I Tried It: The 4-7-8 Deep Breathing Method For Better Sleep

sunset in richmond

Do you ever have nights where your mind is whirring and it’s tricky to drop off to sleep? I do.

 

I’ve been trying the 4-7-8 deep breathing method to help me get to sleep and it’s been really helpful! Pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil, the technique is designed to calm the mind and relax the muscles. If you’re one of the 30% of Brits who suffers from poor sleep, anything is worth a try, right?

 

Not sleeping well doesn’t just affect your blood sugar balance, make you tired and unable to concentrate – it also puts you at risk of more serious health issues including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and even reduces your life expectancy.

 

The 4-7-8 deep breathing technique comes from yoga breathing, where you have to keep the tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth. You breathe in through your nose quietly and blow air out forcefully through your mouth making a whoosh sound.

 

Here’s how to perform the 4-7-8 mindful bedtime trick:

1.    Exhale through your mouth making a ‘whoosh’ sound.

2.    Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.

3.    Hold your breath for seven seconds.

4.    Exhale through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’ sound to the count of eight.

5.    Inhale again and repeat the cycle 2-4 times or until you feel yourself drifting off.

 

According to Dr Weil, this technique works by filling the lungs with air, allowing more oxygen into the body, which in turn promotes a state of calm. Dr Weil advises doing the breathing during the day as well as it can also be used to improve digestion and stop the ‘fight-or-flight’ response in the body, reducing stress.

 

Even if you decide this stress-relieving technique isn’t for you, it’s worth exploring other ways to reduce your stress levels. Stress plays such a huge part in how we feel about ourselves, and that in turn has a knock-on effect on how motivated we are to eat well and take proper care of both our physical and mental health.

 

It might seem like a luxury to practise mindfulness or indulge in any kind of self care but you know what they say when you’re on a plane: you’ve got to put on your own oxygen mask before you can save anyone else.

 

The same is true for healthy eating. In my clinic, people often come to me feeling unmotivated and exhausted by life and it’s my job to help you feel inspired to make positive changes for yourself. And once you feel motivated again, it will help to inspire the whole family and others around you.

 

If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you.

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