Breathing exercises help you relax and relieve stress, and can improve your lung capacity.
- This is good to relax ready for bed, but can be used any time you want to relax, calm your mind or increase your focus.
- Inhale and exhale through the nose, counting to four each way.
- When this becomes easy, try breathing for six or eight beats each way.
- A good way to relax, or calm yourself in stressful circumstances.
- Sit upright on a comfortable chair, or on the floor with your legs crossed.
- Place one hand on your belly, in line with your belly button. Place the other on your chest.
- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose using your diaphragm. The hand on your stomach should move out while the one on your chest remains still.
- Breath out slowly through pursed lips, as though whistling. Feel the hand on your belly move in and push all the air out of your lungs.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times.
- Another general technique for relaxation.
- Place your hands on your belly and your chest as above.
- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. Breathe into your belly while you count silently to four.
- Hold your breath while you count slowly and silently to seven.
- Breath out through your mouth in a controlled manner while you count to eight. Try to completely empty your lungs by the time you reach eight.
- Repeat the cycle 5 to 10 times.
- This is a good breathing exercise for relaxation and focus.
- Place your hands on your belly and chest as above, and practise belly breathing 5 to 10 times.
- When you’re comfortable with breathing into your belly, add the next step; breathe into your belly as before to fill your lower lungs, then continue by breathing into your chest to fill your upper lungs.
- Hold your breath for a couple of beats, and then exhale slowly through your mouth letting first your belly fall, then your chest.
- Practise breathing this way for several minutes, however if at any time you feel light-headed or dizzy stop and breathe normally.
- Good to do first thing in the morning to relieve muscle tension and back stiffness, and clear clogged breathing passages.
- Stand up straight, then bend forward at the waist. Let your arms flop forward towards the floor and bend slightly at the knees.
- As you inhale, slowly and deeply, roll your back until you are standing straight again. Lift your head last of all.
- Hold your breath for a couple of beats, and raise your arms above your head.
- Exhale slowly and sink back to the previous position, bending at the waist.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
- This is said to unite the left and right sides of the brain, and is best to do when you want to focus or energise yourself.
- Assume a comfortable position, ideally sitting upright.
- Using your thumb, close off your right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril.
- At the peak of inhalation close off the left nostril and exhale through the right.
- Continue the pattern by breathing in through the right nostril, and then closing it off and exhaling through the left.
“Skull Shining Breath”
- This is difficult to do, and very hard work for your abdominal muscles, so don’t push yourself too hard. If it becomes uncomfortable or you feel light-headed, stop and return to breathing normally.
- It is good for warming up the body and waking up the brain.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.
- Exhale through your nose quickly and forcefully, using your abdominal muscles to power it.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times, aiming to complete one inhalation and exhalation per one to two seconds.
- This technique may cause you to become light headed. Do not push yourself if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy, and do not maintain it for longer than a few seconds at first.
- Good for physical stimulation and an energy boost.
- Sit in a comfortable, upright position.
- With your mouth closed, breathe rapidly in and out of your nose.
- Imagine your lungs are bellows pumping air; inhalation and exhalation should be equal in length and as fast as possible.
- You should feel an effort in the muscles of your neck, chest and abdomen.
Chinese Breath Technique
- This is helpful for increasing lung capacity, but as with the Bellows technique, may cause lightheadedness.
- Begin with your arms hanging loosely by yoursides.
- Do three short inhales through the nose, without exhaling in between each intake.
- On the first inhalation raise your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
- On the second inhalation, open your arms out to the sides, keeping them at shoulder height.
- On the third and final inhalation raise your arms straight above your head.
- Hold your breathe and hold position for a couple of beats, then slowly exhale while lowering your arms back to your sides in a controlled arc.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Partially Submerged Breathing
- This is great for increasing lung capacity.
- When the body is submerged up to the neck in water the pressure of the water on your chest makes it harder to breathe than normal.
- Practise any of the deep breathing techniques while partially submerged in water to make your lungs work harder and to increase your lung capacity.