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How Breathing Exercises Can Propagate Wellness

Updated on January 8, 2016

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Breathing Exercises

If we are alive, we are breathing. All in all, that is a pretty good thing. However, the majority of adults do not breathe as effectively as they should. We rarely even give our life's breath a second thought. However, we can either propagate wellness by the way we breathe or we can cause our bodies distress, without even realizing it.

Breathing is something we can control. We can regulate our breathing into something more beneficial than just exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide. Another direct benefit of breathing exercises is that they strengthen our chest muscles making it easier to breathe. As an added bonus, there is no special equipment to purchase and you can start anywhere, anytime.

Breathing to Relieve Stress

Breathing: Light on Pranayama

Relieve Stress With Your Breath

Breathing and Stress

In the uncertain world we live in today, stress is a huge health issue and getting larger every day. Stress intensifies some health problems and is the cause of many others. Simple breathing techniques can radically reduce the effects of stress on your body and on your mind. Getting the oxygen flowing gently to your brain seems to clear your mind and invigorates our thought processes, bringing our thinking into focus. The practice of a few different types of breathing exercise can relieve stress and begin to alleviate stress related health problems.

People with respiratory diseases such as COPD can greatly benefit from breathing exercises. Many times these patients stop whatever activity they are doing because they become short of breath. Maintaining a regular breathing exercise regimen, a person with such problems can begin to utilize and strengthen their lungs. Breathing will become easier and they will have more energy to do the things they enjoy.

Practicing breathing exercises increases your oxygen intake by as much as 20% thereby increasing your overall health. More oxygen to your internal organs will truly liven things up inside. It is something like the caffeine rush we encounter on Monday mornings from the Mocha Alert Cappuccino. You will begin to feel more energy and an increased drive to more after only a few sessions. Panic Attacks and the Relaxing Breath

We have already mentioned how breathing exercises help reduce stress. One area that is closely related to stress but rather short lived are those sudden panic attacks. You know, those little moments of anxiety where some wise friend will invariably say, ‘Now, take a deep breath.' And a wise friend they are indeed. The following exercise is one that takes very little time and is the perfect antidote to anxiety or situation nervousness. It may be a bit noisy but it's relieving and calming effect is almost instantaneous and well worth it.

This is called the Relaxing Breath or the 4-7-8 Exercise: While learning this exercise, sit with your back straight. After you have mastered the technique, you will be able to do this anywhere, in any situation. Place the tip of your tongue on the ridges of the gums behind the upper front teeth. Keep it there for the entire exercise. You will be inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth around your tongue. First, exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound. Now, close your mouth and quietly inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath there for a count of seven. Then exhale completely through your mouth, with the whooshing sound, to the count of eight. That cycle is one breath. Repeat the cycle for four total breaths.

The amount of time you spend on each breath is not important, the counts of 4-7-8 are important. You can do this fast or slow, you choose the pace but, keep the ratio of 4-7-8 for all four cycles. This technique will become a very useful tool for you in alleviating anxiety, clearing your mind, and even calming your anger. Use it whenever your need it, you cannot overdose on it.

Breathing For Meditation

How to Do Breathing Exercises

The Diaphram Breath

Try this exercise for deeper breathing, to increase oxygen intake and strengthen lungs and chest muscles. Diaphragm breathing:

(1) Lie on your back with your knees bent, supported by pillows.

(2) Place your hand or fingers on your belly just below the ribcage.

(3) Inhale deeply for a count of 3, your belly and lower ribs should rise, your upper chest should remain fairly still.

(4) Exhale for a count of 6, fully and completely.

Once you have mastered this exercise lying down, you may try it standing, walking, or even climbing stairs.

Deep Breathing

Another great exercise for getting your lungs into shape and making the most of the oxygen available to you is simply called Deep Breathing:

(1) Sit or stand straight, pull your elbows back firmly, and inhale deeply.

(2) Hold your breath for 5 counts

(3) Exhale slowly and completely.

Breathing Exercise

Breathing Deep

Pursed Lip Breathing

This last exercise is also a fantastic technique to do when you do become short of breath, it is called Pursed Lip Breathing:

(1) Relax your neck and shoulders.

(2) Breathe in slowly through your nose for 2 or 3 counts.

(3) Purse your lips as if you are whistling.

(4) Breathe out gently through your mouth for twice the count as you inhaled. Don't force the air out, let it escape naturally. Continue this cycle until you no longer short of breath.

Breathing exercises are very simple. Anyone of any age, gender, or race can begin their journey to better health and overall wellness, naturally, just by doing what they do all the time. We just have to learn to do it better.

Please consult your physician before starting any exercise program.


Submit a Comment

  • Amanda Severn profile image

    Amanda Severn 9 years ago from UK

    This is a great hub. Few people appreciate what a difference breathing exercises can make. They're brilliant for helping prevent panic attacks, improving confidence issues and initiating self-hypnosis. (You're talking to a long-time convert here!)

  • Shalini Kagal profile image

    Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

    Great hub! I find there's nothing that beats a good 'breathing' start to each day!