Mitchell native helps breathe away stressDeep breathing encouraged for better health, stamina, stress relief.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
A Mitchell native got a group of more than 20 women moving to introduce a tool box of tips to manage stress Thursday at the Avera Queen of Peace Community Room in Mitchell.
Laurie Ellis-Young, sister to Mitchell High School boys’ basketball coach Tom Young, has been studying and teaching various mind and body therapies for more than 30 years.
She found a book on yoga and tried the ancient art form in Mitchell when she was 15, she said Thursday in a short interview with The Daily Republic.
She is now director of Breathe The Change LLC, and is based in the Minneapolis area.
She took her first yoga class when she was 21. She said yoga is not just about postures. Yoga incorporates what she calls the science of life and the science of breath.
“But my passion is breathwork,” she said. “It helps everybody. Breathing affects physical, mental and emotional well-being.”
Ellis-Young asked the group to take a deep breath and sigh, stating the sigh allows for a deeper breath to follow, circulating more oxygen.
“It is the natural wisdom of the body to sigh,” she said.
When a person feels anxious, upset, exhausted or stressed out, she gives these tips, aside from sighing:
• Close your eyes for a moment and feel them soften;
• Smile softly;
• Stand up and shake off stress;
• Hum or sing;
• Do some neck exercises;
• Laugh; and
• Change your posture.
“If you use these tools, you can transform your life,” she said.
To get the audience involved and demonstrate her points, Ellis-Young had them perform breathing exercises.
She handed out “super terrific regulatory air wands,” or straws, to demonstrate deeper breathing.
Everyone in the audience unwrapped the top of the straws and blew the wrappers as far as they could.
“They were able to exhale slower than normal, regulating the airflow so the next breath they took was a deeper, fuller breath,” Ellis-Young said after the event. “They get more oxygen and it’s also a relaxing technique.”
To demonstrate the importance of deep breathing, Ellis-Young asked the women to breathe into their bellies as another way to incorporate deep breathing.
“By breathing into your belly, you’re using the diaphragm and getting more oxygen into the lungs,” she said.
“That is beneficial for all the organs of digestion and elimination.”
Adults typically forget how to breathe into their bellies, she said, and relearning that technique is important.
When a person breathes shallowly, it can cause anxiousness or stress, she said.
“If you are breathing deeply, it is impossible to feel panic and you will have access to greater stamina,” she said.
As a final exercise, the audience shook off its stress and stiffness.
Ellis-Young said not only does it feel good to move around, it gets the blood moving and more oxygen in the system.
“Now, close your eyes,” she told the audience. “Put your hand on your heart and feel your breathing.”
Simply concentrating on breathing can help relieve stress as well, she said.
“When we feel our breath, the mind relaxes,” she said. “We need to relax our mind and body. Our breath is one of the most important tools to do this.”