Personal trainer explains: how your breathing helps you stay healthy and energetic, day after day

June 7th, 2022,

5 min read

Personal trainer explains: how your breathing helps you stay healthy and energetic, day after dayfeatured image

In our busy and often hectic world, consciously seeking ways to relax is essential to stay well-balanced. The question is: how do you do that? Jana Van himbeeck (Your Powercoach Jana), personal trainer, yoga teacher, and breathing coach from Antwerp, shares her tips and insights.

If there is one phrase I repeat several times a day, it’s 'keep breathing'.

Jana, what drives you in your job?

"I teach people to put themselves and their health first, so that they can build a close relationship with their bodies and with physical exercise. I do my job because I know from my own experience how difficult it is to build a healthy relationship with your own body in our current society, and how complex it can be to see the wood for the trees in terms of your physical and mental well-being. Teaching someone to take their health into their own hands so that they can go through life more energetically, but above all happier, gives me enormous satisfaction.

I am very passionate about how the human body works. It is amazing how resilient and grateful your body can be when you take the time to take good care of yourself, both mentally and physically. That is what I love about my job: helping people experience what it feels like to put themselves first.

I like helping others and I care a lot about connection. That is also the reason why I still coach people one-on-one: I really want to get to know people and coach them to their personal goals as well as possible."

You say you have learned from your own experience, what signals do you get when you don't listen to your body properly?

"Over the years, I have come to know my own limitations and boundaries better. As someone who always goes the full 100% and can be quite the perfectionist in everything she does, I have often - unconsciously - gone beyond my limits. This has made me know my body a lot better and notice its signals more quickly now.

The first signal that comes to mind is the loss of motivation to exercise. I love sports: strength training, yoga, running, rope skipping... And when I have enough energy and feel good, I am eager to move my body. When I don't feel like exercising, I know I have to take a step back. This is usually the sign that I am really tired, both mentally and physically.

I often notice it immediately in my mindset: I feel insecure, and doubt myself and my work. These are clear signals for me to slow down, because I am burning myself out.

I usually get to this point by working too much. If you love your job, it is sometimes difficult to stop. Especially when you are self-employed. You are busy day in and day out, and it never stops. And whether you like your job or not, it takes its toll after a while. Because work is work, and everyone needs to relax regularly.”

Breathing exercises are my ultimate form of relaxation. Five minutes can make a world of difference.
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What is the way for you to get back to yourself?

"My way of taking back the gas is to actively plan time for myself. By consciously blocking out moments in my schedule to relax and rest. I like to go for walks in nature. I live near several forests and parks, these are my go-to spots when my head feels like pure chaos.

Yoga is also an ideal way for me to relax. As a yoga teacher, I teach quite a lot of yoga classes, but doing yoga yourself is completely different. That was something else I had to learn: that teaching a yoga class is not the same as flowing on your mat and focusing on yourself and your breathing.

For two years, breathing exercises have been my ultimate form of relaxation. Five minutes can make a world of difference, and that's what I love about it. The fact that I can use my own breathing to bring my body and mind back to rest: I love it.

Of course sports also help me to relax. Strength training is and remains for me the best way to clear my head and be myself for a while. But because my life, and therefore also my sports, are often enormously in 'go go go' mode, I have learned to turn more to soft forms of exercise in difficult moments because they bring my nervous system back into better balance."

Do you have a daily self-care routine?

"Because I often start giving personal training at 7:00 in the morning, I don't really have a morning routine. I need a lot of sleep because of my physical job, so every extra minute counts.

Getting to bed on time is therefore definitely part of my evening routine. I also try to relax in the evening by watching TV with my boyfriend, or reading a book. I don't take my mobile phone into the bedroom and I do breathing exercises with my moonbird every evening before going to bed.

I move my body daily and I choose foods that give me energy. I always try to get enough sleep and listen carefully to what my body and mind need. I must admit that there is still some work to be done in my working life. A little more rest and relaxation between tasks and clients would do me good. But it's a work in progress, so I try to be kind to myself in that area as well.”

Breathing exercises are your ultimate form of relaxation, you say, how does that work for you?

"Not a day goes by that I am not working on my breathing. It has become a tool for me to tune in to myself, to check how I feel. The moments when I breathe faster and shallower, I know that something is wrong: too much stress and tension. Often underlying, and my breathing is a clear signal from my body that something needs to change.

Breathing exercises have made me more in control of my stress levels, my sleep and my health in general. Learning to breathe correctly has also played a major role in my sports performance. I no longer crash after a tough run, because I now know how to breathe correctly while running to provide my body with sufficient oxygen. I also feel stronger, because I know how to breathe in order to strengthen my exercises.

Breathing is the thread that runs through my work. Not only during my yoga classes, but also during personal training sessions. It is such an important aspect of your health. It's something I pass on to all my clients. If there's one phrase I repeat several times a day, it's 'keep breathing'."

As someone who has done breathing exercises without a moonbird for a very long time, I can say that I am really a fan of this device.

How do you use your moonbird in this?

"I use my moonbird every evening before I go to sleep. It ensures that my nervous system can come to rest, that I fall asleep faster and that I sleep better. Also at times throughout the day when I notice that my head is spinning at full speed, I reach for my moonbird to get everything back in order.

In my online breathing course, I teach people a whole range of breathing exercises that they can use in everyday life, to improve their breathing, calm their body and mind, create more balance in their nervous system, etc. It is my intention to soon offer this course together with a moonbird as a package deal. This way my clients can follow the course exercises with a moonbird in their hand, to get even more out of their breathing."

What do you like about breathing with moonbird?

"As someone who has done breathing exercises without a moonbird for a very long time, I can say that I am a real fan of this device. It feels very natural, both the way it fits in your hand and the way it guides your breathing.

I really like the fact that you can set your own breathing exercises. That way you can always do the exercise that works best for your body and mind. I also think that it makes breathing exercises very accessible. The step to grab your moonbird is very small, and I notice that since I have moonbird I never skip my breathing exercises, not a single evening. It is on my bedside table and using it has become a habit.

It's also very useful that you can check your heart rate and heart rate variability in the app, because these are things that I as an athlete find very important and interesting to know. It gives me a good idea of how well my nervous system is balanced and how well my body recovers after training."

Final question, what is your life motto?

“Three things in life really matter: your health, your mission and the people you love. That's it.”

For more information about Jana and her work, have a look at yourpowercoachjana.be, or follow her in Instagram, Tiktok or Facebook.

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