Although breathing is an automatic response from the body, we do have control over it and can use it to our advantage.
Its so easy to get caught up in the stress and busyness of our day to day lives that sometimes we forget to breathe. Taking a moment to breathe amongst the chaos can be so beneficial to your health and is often disregarded.
When breathing, we use minimal lung capacity (especially under stress) – so taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to focus on proper breathing can help you clear your mind and get in touch with your inner self. The upward and downward movement of the diaphragm also help remove toxins stored promoting better blood flow.
Do you want to experience the benefits of breathing exercises? Start by choosing one of the mentioned below to add to your daily routine.
When doing breathing exercises, it is important to get into a comfortable seated position, with your spine long and neck straight. Whether you’re sitting on the floor on a cushion or on your chair, your knees should be below your hips in order to open your cheat completely and get the full effects of the breathing.
#1 Mindful breathing
This breathing is most commonly used during meditation and just means to simply become aware of your breathing. Place one hand on your belly and one on the chest. Becoming aware of your breathe will make you breath slower. Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 8 counts. This is a good exercise to use when youre feeling anxious and also good to use just before eating to improve digestion making you relaxed.
#2 Kapalbhati – also known as Skull Shining breathe
Have you ever seen anyone come back from a retreat and their skins is GLOWING. Well, yes its from this breathing exercise. Excellent exercise to warm up respiratory system and remove toxins from the lungs.
Sit in a comfortable seated position. Take an abdominal breath in and prepare for pumping..
Contract your abdominal muscles to forcefully exhale from the nose, relax the abdominal muscles naturally for inhalation. Be sure not to inhale actively, instead release the abdomen and allow air to be sucked in passively.
Repeat for 3 sets with increasing pumpings from 15 to 20 to 25. Hold for 20 seconds between each set.
#3 Anulom Vilom – Alternate nostril breathing
This breathing exercise is known to balance both hemispheres of the brain promoting complete relaxation and calmness in the body.
- Start by sitting in a comfortable seated position with your spine long, neck straight and a slight smile on the face.
- Place your left hand rested on your knee in chin mudra (index finger and thumb together). Place your right hand in Vishnu mudra (index and middle finger down).
- Place the thumb of the right hand on the right nostril, inhale 4 counts. Block both nostrils and hold for 8 counts. Release the thumb and exhale out the right nostril for 8 counts. Repeat the cycle for 3 minutes.
There are many other breathing exercises with many benefits but these are excellent starting points and if you would like to go into the more detailed versions it is best to get a breathing coach.
I hope you find a breathing exercise that is connected with you and try it out. Try it out for a month and feel the difference! Enjoy the process.
Written by Katja Toms.