What Science Says About the Power of the Outbreath
Most of the time, we don’t pay attention to our breath at all. Experts share how our outbreath is key to allowing the body to let go of stress.
It feels, especially lately, that the world is releasing a emotional sigh. A COVID-weary, climate-anxious, war-distressed sigh.
But a sigh is really just an out-breath, an exhale, the companion to breathing in. “When we inhale, it’s a very active process,” says Dr. Ni-Cheng Liang, a pulmonary physician, podcast host, and mindfulness teacher who gets to see the process play out in her students. “The diaphragm actually has to pull itself down and flatten in order for us to invoke an inhaled breath.” The exhalation, on the other hand, is much more passive, and consequently, says Dr. Liang, doesn’t get as much attention. But what’s important, she explains, “is that we can actually control the out-breath and harness our own physiology to help exhale out all of our residual breath.” In other words, only when we deeply exhale will we be able to deeply inhale. That out-breath, that sigh, matters.
Continue reading Dr. Ni-Chieng Liang interview here.