You’ve been breathing all your life – Inhale, Exhale. Easy right? Wrong. Science shows that most of us don’t take in nearly as much air as our lungs actually can hold – and we should. Not doing breathing properly can put you at risk of issues like fatigue and even stress on the heart. In this, we show you how to breathe the way nature intended. First, let’s start with this quick test to see how you breathe.
Test your breathing technique
1. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen
2. Inhale deeply and then exhale a few times
Can you feel your chest rising? If your chest moves up and down or your belly is still or moves inward on inhalation then you are chest / shallow breathing. Most of us breathe this way, especially in moments of panic or during vigorous exercise. Truth is breathing this way actually puts your body under more stress and increases feelings of anxiety. Basically, if you are not breathing into your belly – you are doing it wrong.
So why learn to breathe properly?
A deep belly breath, despite its simplicity, can yield profound wellbeing benefits. It is extremely relaxing, and when mastered can become a powerful tool for stress relief, falling asleep and so much more. To see belly breathing in action, watch the way babies and children breathe.
How to Breathe the Right Way
Practice makes perfect and after many years of getting it wrong – practicing these exercises will make it easier to perform them when you need them. In the video above Kia Aileen, a transformation coach and hypnotherapy expert takes us through 3 separate breathing techniques. (i) Diaphragmatic / Belly breathing, (ii) Box breathing, and (iii) Coherent breathing.
For readers, here’s a good, basic diaphragmatic breathing exercise, from the team at Guys & St Thomas’, that’s very similar to this:
- Lie down on your back. You can have your legs straight or bent or on a pillow, whichever is most comfortable for you.
- Let your chest open naturally, shoulder blades in contact with the floor, and place one hand on your abdomen just below your rib cage. Place the other hand on your chest.
- Take a slow deep breath in through your nose. Focus on your belly coming up and pressing against your hand. The other hand on your chest should stay still.
- Let go, exhale smoothly, tightening your core muscles. Imagine you’re trying to make a candle flame flicker but not go out. Feel the pressure on the hand over your abdomen decrease.
How often should you practice your breathing?
Practice these exercises every for 5 to 10 minutes, 3 to 4 times, if you have lung problems – try more frequently. When you get really good at it, increase the time and do it sitting up against a wall or in a chair with good support. Then challenge yourself to do it without any support. You’ll get even better results if you do other exercises like yoga and other core strengthening exercises like planks and bridges.
Essential Oils like LBB’s Flight Mode Mood Rescue Oil with decongesting eucalyptus and peppermint open up the chest and soothing oils like lavender and cedarwood help grounding and enhance relaxation.
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