Breathing exercises? Sounds way too simple, what can be breathing good for, except for… well, breathing? You’ll be surprised to know there are hundreds of breathing exercises to help you clear your mind, boost your energy, or, on the contrary, relax, de-stress, improve your focus and lower your anxiety levels.
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Of course, your normal, natural breathing patterns won’t change how you feel. So here are five simple but very efficient deep breathing techniques that you can choose from depending on your current moods and needs.
Relaxation. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t automatically tell life-or-death stressful situations from not-so-life-and-death situations. This way, we are at risk of being constantly stressed. These breathing exercises will help you combat the fight-or-flight reflexes.
#1. Deep diaphragmatic breathing: Lie on the floor, your eyes are closed, your knees are bent. As you inhale through your nose, push your belly up the ceiling. Hold your breath for a second. As you exhale through your mouth (for about 3 seconds), allow your body to deflate. Repeat the sequence for 3-5 minutes.
#2. The 10-count breath: Sit comfortably, or lie down. Breathe naturally, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Once you’re ready, start counting your breaths: one as inhale, two as exhale, three for inhale, and so on. Once your reach the count of ten, start again and repeat for three rounds.
Mental clarity. Constant tiredness and multitasking can unfortunately lead to a worsened cognitive performance.
#3. The 4-7-8 breath: Sit comfortably with your back straight and mouth closed. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth. Keep the tongue there throughout the exercise. As you inhale through your nose, count to four. Then hold your breath for the count of seven. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight. Repeat the cycle three more times.
Enhance your athletic performance. Breathing exercises will teach you to breathe correctly as you work out.
Take just a few minutes out of each day to bring yourself to a state of calm and wellness and balance your life using a combination of guided meditations and mindfulness techniques. The techniques are a simple, practical relaxation method for anyone.
#4. Alternate nostril breathing: This is pranayama - the yoga exercise of timed and controlled breathing. Sit comfortably, with a straight spine. Place your left arm in your lap and bring your right hand up to your nose, resting the pointer and middle finger between your eyebrows. Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril, slowly and calmly. Close your left nostril with your ring finger (both nostrils are closed), and hold the breath for two seconds.
Release your right nostril and exhale all of the air. Inhale again through the right, close both nostrils, and exhale through the left. That’s one cycle. Continue this pattern for 5-10 cycles.
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#5. The hundred breathing: Increase lung capacity with this pilates exercise. Take five sharp breaths in through the nose. Follow with five strong and short exhales through the mouth contracting your abs at the same time. Repeat 10 more times.
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