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How conscious breathing can make you both healthier and happier - Nikki van der Velden

May 3rd, 2023,

5 Min. Lesezeit

How conscious breathing can make you both healthier and happier - Nikki van der Veldenfeatured image

In our busy and often hectic world, consciously seeking relaxation is essential to stay in balance. But how do you do that? Nikki van der Velden, breathe expert and founder of The Breathwork Movement, shares her tips and insights.

Consciously breathing not only makes me healthier and happier, but it also guides me through everything that happens in life.

Who is Nikki van der Velden?

"I am a writer, community builder, and founder of The Breathwork Movement platform, which is all about the power of breath. Breathwork, mental health, and making your life more pleasant and relaxed is my great passion as well as the common thread in everything I do.”

What is the driving force in your work?

"Breathing has become my great passion in recent years. And that while I had been doing it for quite some years ;-) The fascination arose after I had suffered a severe concussion in 2018 - with post-concussion syndrome as a result - which put me out of action for a long time. It was an intense period, and I wasn't able to do much anymore.

In my quest to recover, I tried everything you can think of - from the neurologist I met through the rehabilitation center to pretty much every self-help method there is - but nothing proved to be as powerful and effective in controlling my health and stress levels as working with my own breath. Conscious breathing has been my salvation.

The fascination for the power of breathing has never left me and has now become the primary focus of my work. I set up The Breathwork Movement platform with a mission: introduce as many people as possible to the power of breath. Down-to-earth, simple, and also fun. It doesn't always have to be heavy or complicated. I once said: if I can positively change even one life through my work on breathing, then my mission is accomplished. Meanwhile, I have been able to change many lives. Breathwork is so transformative and healing at all levels in life.

But you have to know how it works and that it even exists - you don't learn about it in school. The Breathwork Movement has since grown into a busy platform and the community of breath coaches who share their knowledge and experiences through the platform continues to expand. I feel grateful every day to be able to do this work!"

How do you notice that you need relaxation?

"I take good care of myself and rest enough, something I never really did before. However, I can still become overstimulated, a remnant of my concussion. The concussion felt like a curse at first, but now I see it as a blessing. It has changed my life for the better, partly because I have learned to listen to my body much better than I used to.

The signals that I notice when I need rest? I notice it in headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and muscle tension. It's like my 'funnel' gets full or clogged with all the impressions and stimuli, and I can no longer process everything well. I can't think clearly anymore and become emotionally unbalanced. That’s when I know that I need to slow down."

What do you do when you notice these signals?

"I step away from the computer, that's often the first step. I love walking, which always helps. After a brisk walk, I feel reborn, and my head is empty again. If I don't have time to go into nature, I still make sure I walk 10,000 steps a day in and around the house. My Fitbit stimulates me to keep up.

Yoga and meditation are also part of my regular routine. I have an attic at home that is fully furnished as a 'chill room', where I take the time every evening to relax and come to myself. Without a phone or other stimuli. This is where I do my yoga and breathing exercises, but I also enjoy the art of doing nothing, to just lay in my sofa and listen to some music. Singing is also a great outlet. I am by no means a singer, but I love to sing! In the car I always completely relax by singing along to the radio. And I love dancing to music too, in the morning in the bathroom, for a good and positive start of the day.”

Do you have a set daily self-care ritual?

“I always start the day by consciously checking in with myself. How do I feel? What is my body telling me? What do I want the day to bring me? I do not immediately reach for my phone, but I first choose a moment of silence, with a few conscious breaths.

I really take my time in the morning. I don't like to rush, because then you start the day on the wrong side of the bed.. I often practice a few breathing exercises in bed before I get up, depending on what my needs are that day. Those can be exercises by Wim Hof, Epiphora or heart coherence.

I like to start the day dynamically and with positive energy: dancing to music. It makes me happy, I always start my day with a smile. This is followed by a cold shower, which provides a gigantic boost of energy. "I love it!"

What has breathwork brought you?

"Conscious breathing has changed and improved my life in every aspect. Physically, I feel much fitter and stronger. Emotionally, I am much more balanced. When intense things happen in life - and they happen inevitably - I have my breathing as a tool to observe my state of being, embrace and experience the feeling and process it better.

Thanks to breathwork, I have become particularly better at feeling, and I am no longer overwhelmed by any situation. Conscious breathing not only makes me healthier and happier, but also guides me through everything that happens in life."

Finally, what is your life motto?

"Always live from your heart! Life is short (or at least, you never know), so do the things you really want to do. Try to turn inward and feel what drives you in life - in the stillness, you will find your answers. And then live your most beautiful life: don't hesitate, dare to jump, laugh, live!"

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