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

May 9th, 2022,

5 min read

How conscious breathing can make you both healthier and happier - Nikki van der Veldenfeatured 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? Nikki van der Velden, moonbird’s content and community marketer shares her tips and insights.

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

Who is Nikki van der Velden?

“I'm part-time content and community marketer at moonbird, part-time freelance writer, and I am also the founder of the platform The Breathwork Movement, which is all about breathing. Breathwork, mental health, and making your life more pleasant and relaxed is my great passion and the common thread in everything I do.”

What drives your work?

“In recent years, breathing has become my great passion. Although I had been doing it already for quite a few years ;-) The fascination arose after I suffered a severe concussion in 2018 - resulting in post-concussion syndrome - which took me out of the running for a long time. It was an intense period, I wasn’t capable of doing much anymore.

In my quest for recovery, I've tried everything you can think of, from the neurologist via the rehab center to just about any self-help method. Nothing turned out to be as powerful and effective in controlling my health and stress levels as working with my own breathing. Conscious breathing has been my salvation.

The fascination for the power of breathing has never left me, and has now become the main focus of my work. I have set up The Breathwork Movement as a platform with a mission: to introduce as many people as possible to the power of the breath. Down-to-earth, simple and in a fun way. It doesn't always have to be too heavy or complicated. Since last year, I am also a proud member of the moonbird team. I can now introduce even more people worldwide to conscious breathing. My job at moonbird fits in seamlessly with my personal mission, so it was a match made in heaven.

I once said: if I can positively change even just one life through my efforts of spreading the power of conscious breathing, then my mission is accomplished. But I have already been able to change many lives. I feel grateful every day to be able to do this work!”

How do you notice you’re in need of relaxation?

“I take good care of myself and allow myself to take enough rest, something I never really did before. I can still get overstimulated, a remnant of my concussion. The concussion felt like a curse at first, but now I see it as a blessing. It has positively changed my life, partly because I pay more attention to my body.

The signs I notice when I’m in need of rest? I get headaches, brain fog, fatigue and muscle tension. It is as if my 'funnel' becomes full or clogged with all the impressions and stimuli, and then I can’t process it all properly. I can no longer think clearly and I become emotionally out of balance. Then I know I have to slow down.”

What do you do when you notice this?

“Get away from the computer, that is often the first step. I like walking a lot, that always helps. After a brisk walk I feel reborn, and my mind is clear again. If I don't have time to go into nature, I still make sure I take 10,000 steps a day in and around the house. My Fitbit encourages me to keep this up.

Yoga and meditation are also part of my daily routine. At home I have an attic that is completely designed as my 'chill space', where every evening I take the time to relax and unwind. Without my telephone or other disturbing stimuli. Here I do my yoga and breathing exercises, but I also like to 'do nothing': simply relax with nice music on. 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 to 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 a completely different foot. I often do some 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 the 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 on all levels, that’s all I can say. Physically I feel much fitter and stronger. Emotionally I am much more balanced. When challenging things happen in life - and they inevitably happen - I use my breathing as a tool to observe my state of being, to embrace and feel all feelings, and to process it all better.

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

Final question, what is your motto in life?

“Always live from your heart! Life is short (at least, we don't know), so do the things you really want to do. Try to go inwards and feel what drives you in life - in the silence you will find your answers. And then live your best life: don’t hesitate, dare to jump, laugh, live!”

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