50 Ways to Stay Well #39 – Breathing

‘Ha’ in Hawaiian means breath or breath of life. In yoga circles, “prana” is breath or vital energy in the body.  To athlete’s, proper breathing is vital to good performance. So why do most people breath primarily chest oriented and shallow?

Typically, when angry or stressed a person breaths faster and more shallow. When in pain or sick, we tend to take longer and deeper breaths to get relief. Short breaths cause oxygen deficiency in the tissues and organs of our body and just isn’t good!

Just walking around taking deeper breaths isn’t the answer (though it’ll help), there are different breathing techniques.

The Soft-Belly Technique

Keeping your stomach relaxed (no pushing it out or in), inhale through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, while keeping your stomach relaxed. This technique is believed to stimulate the part of your parasympathetic nervous system that runs through your abdomen, chest, and back to your brain.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and use the thumb of your right hand to block your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril for six seconds. Next, cover your left nostril with the fourth finger of your right hand, release your right nostril, and exhale slowly for six seconds. Switch nostrils and repeat for about two minutes. This technique is believed to lowers pulse rate and diastolic blood pressure.

The Bee Breath

Sitting in a comfortable position, take a deep breath through your nose, then let out a high-pitched humming sound as you exhale through your nose. You should feel a vibration in your nose, as well as in your chest and head. This is believed to be a good breathing technique for anxiety.

The Pursed-Lip Breath

Breath through your nostrils for four second and exhale for eight through lips puckered as if you were drinking from a straw.

Resources           

Breath (app)

Calgary Holotropic Breathwork Workshop

Articles

Improve Your Breathing Techniques (Women’s Health Magazine)

20 Weird Ways Breathing Right Can Improve Your Life (Health Magazine)

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