Boost fertility in just 5 minutes – with 7-11 breathing
In my last post, I explained how stress reduces fertility. This can be hard to hear because it feels like you’re stuck in a “catch-22”: fertility problems are stressful and stress causes fertility problems.
Here, I offer a solution.
This breathing technique will quickly reduce your stress. And (if you read my last post) you know this is a fabulous thing to do to boost fertility!
How to do 7-11 breathing:
Turn off your devices and give yourself permission to take a 5-minute break.
1. Sit comfortably and allow yourself to tune in to where you are. Give yourself permission to be just as you are
2. Turn your attention to your breathing and continue to breathe naturally and normally, allowing yourself to be just as you are
3. Become aware of your shoulders and allow them to relax
4. Place the palms of your hands on your diaphragm (base of your ribs) with your fingers pointing towards each other and gently touching
5. Gently breathe in for the count of 7, pause for a moment and then breathe out for the count of 11
6. Continue to breathe this way for a few minutes, as is comfortable for you
Tips on getting the most out of 7-11 breathing:
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth (if this is comfortable for you). The exhale is done as if breathing through a straw or blowing out candles.
Your shoulders should remain relaxed throughout. As you continue through this exercise become aware of your shoulders and allow them to relax.
The breathing should be abdominal. Your hands should move slightly apart as your lungs fill. If your hands are not moving apart, purposefully breathe lower into your lungs.
How often, and for how long, should I do 7-11 breathing?
To begin with, practice 5 x 7-11 breaths and then build up to whatever is comfortable for you. You will soon get to know the “feeling” of when your relaxation response has been triggered (you will feel calmer). From that point you may choose to continue for two or more breaths and then return to breathing normally.
7-11 breathing is an excellent tool to build into your ongoing self-care routine. I advise my clients to do 7-11 breathing three-times a day, every day, as part of ongoing “fertility boosting” stress reduction.
This breathing technique can also be used in moments of acute stress.
How does 7-11 breathing boost fertility?
When stressed we naturally take quick, shallow breaths and inhale for longer than we exhale. Usually, we are not aware that we are breathing this way because it happens automatically when our stress response has been triggered. Our body “expects us” to expend the “excess” of oxygen by running or fighting for our lives (hence the longer in-breath).
7-11 breathing, is opposite to how we breathe when stressed. It is the extended exhalation that sends a message to your brain that “there is no emergency”.
Once the “no emergency” signal has been received by your brain, your brain will signal your body to stop pumping out stress hormones.
Your body’s natural relaxation response is triggered. This allows your autonomic nervous system to shift from a highly aroused state to a relaxed state. Your whole mind-body system will return to pre-stress levels.
You will have stopped all the unhelpful things that stress does to your fertility (see my last post for details).
You have control!
It is our unconscious mind that controls the bodily functions that are part of our autonomic nervous system (things like heart rate, breathing, blood flow and pupil dilation).
Breathing is the one function that you can bring under your conscious control. In this way, the breath is a fantastic resource for you. Breathing is something that you can consciously and purposefully use to control your nervous system and shift from a stressed state to a relaxed state.
Stimulating your body’s natural relaxation response is within your control. You can – on purpose – allow your mind-body system to return to pre-stress levels.
Think clearly and rationally!
7-11 breathing activates a the part of your brain that enables you to think clearly and rationally. In this way, 7-11 breathing can bring you a different perspective on your situation.
More on this in my next post!
For now, feel good about the fact that you can take control and set yourself free from the harmful effects of stress.
(And remember, if you want to experience the benefits of longer and deeper relaxation, download my free audio)
With best wishes