Learning how to take a deep breath can make a considerable change in your health and energy levels.
Did you know that you can only survive 4 minutes without oxygen?
That is how long it takes for the brain cells to stop functioning. Yet we do not give much attention to the quality of our breathing.
Do you feel fatigued when climbing up the stairs, walking up a slope or simply by rushing around in your day to day routine?
Then it is time to stop and find out about deep breathing for energy.
Are you aware you can eliminate anxiety, stress and even depression if you become conscious and do proper breathing?
Read more below for helpful breathing exercises that you can practice at the comfort of your home or even when on the go.
Today I have been to an interesting yoga class. The instructor was from India and he did a very complete class starting with energetic warm up exercises, followed by a few minutes doing the sun salutation, then a few asanas, and continued with some very interesting breathing exercises. After that we had a couple of minutes of meditation and relaxation to end the class.
I had done similar classes in India and Sri Lanka, and had forgotten about the wonderful physical sensation and mental well-being both during and after finishing the yoga session.
The class inspired me to share with you information of DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES.
Are YOU Using Your Full Lung Capacity?
In Yoga breathing is called Pranayam, that is a series of specific controlled breathing exercises to increase the vital energy.
The practice of yoga encourages the correct way of breathing, whereby you inhale and exhale from your nose, keep your mouth closed and use the full lung capacity.
Apparently in our normal breathing from the chest, only a third of the lung capacity is being used.
Proper deep breathing will fill your lungs with oxygen and the vital energy is stored in the chakras or energy points in the body. You are constantly using this energy with every movement and thought, therefore it is important to recharge and breathe consciously ∼ breathe deeply.
The average person breathes from the chest (using chest and shoulder muscles), also called shallow breathing and it is not enough; to obtain the maximum vital energy from inhalation, you need to breathe from the diaphragm through deep breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing is when you are lifting your stomach with each inhalation instead of your chest.
When you use the full lung capacity you are inhaling more oxygen, that increases the metabolic rate. At the same time, the digestive system as well as the elimination system function better.
Notice how you breathe when you are agitated or angry; rapid, short and shallow breathing
Observe how you breathe when you are tranquil or profound thinking; slow, longer and deep breathing.
Short breathing limits mental alertness.
It is not recommended breathing through the mouth otherwise the air is not filtered as it does when inhaling through the nostrils. The olfactory system at the back of your nose and in the nasal cavity filters and cleans the inhaled air.
Slow exhalation is recommended to expel the stagnant air and replace it by fresh air.
5 Pranayam Techniques
The sitting posture: Wear comfy clothes, sit with your legs crossed, or the lotus or meditation posture in yoga, and keep your back straight with spine, neck and head in alignment. If you are uncomfortable you can put a blanket or a block underneath, for better adjustment.
Relax and keep your eyes closed during the exercise.
Note: For those who prefer to watch the breathing techniques, here is a good video by Swami Ramdev. Unfortunately it is in Hindi and there are no subtitles, but still worth watching. It is very pleasant to see how they educate kids from a young age on the importance of deep breathing.
So now let´s find out what are the 5 Pranayam Techniques.
Start with a chest breathing exercise. This is an easy way of doing it. Bring your hands to your chest at right angle, holding the right arm on top of the left one, and the elbows should be at chest length. Breathe in and to exhale extend both elbows to the sides at once, and release the air from your nostrils with force. Repeat 20 consecutive times and rest. Do 3 rounds x 20 respiration.
This is a highly beneficial exercise for your health, as it massages the internal organs including the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys and it enhances your digestive function.
To practice, inhale twice, then do fast repeated exhalation through the nose and at the same time you pull you tummy in with each inhalation. Repeat 20 TIMES FOR 3 ROUNDS.
3.Anuloma Viloma Pranayam
This breathing exercise is good for the nervous system. It is also called alternate nostril breathing, as that is how the exercise is carried out. Hold your hand in meditation nasikagra mudra, by pressing the index and forefinger into your palm and the rest of the fingers held straight.
Take a few deep breaths to relax the body.
Now start from the right nostril, press the thumb to your nose to close the right nostril to breathe in from the left nostril. Next with your ring finger cover the left nostril and breathe out from your right nostril. This is considered as one round of Anuloma Viloma breathing.
Repeat for 6 rounds in total.
For beginners, you should inhale and exhale to the equal amount of time or counts. Progressively you can increase the duration to 1:2, that is, inhale count 4, exhale count 8. For the more advanced, then you should apply the 4-16-8 breathing technique, that is, inhale count 4, retain count 16 and exhale count 8. There is more benefit of the exercise on the retention and releasing stage as you are eliminating toxins.
Good for anxiety and depression. Cover your ears with your thumbs and cover your eyes with the 3 fingers (just place the fingers on your ears and eyes, you don´t need to put any pressure), lift your tongue against the palate, breathe in and then do a humming sound to create a vibration to activate the brain. Repeat 6 times.
Breathe in and on exhalation say THE MANTRA OHM and feel the vibration all over your body, that will relief all the tension.
Repeat a few times.
DON´T FORGET TO KEEP A SMILE ON YOUR FACE.
Benefits of deep breathing
- controls asthma
- prevents low and high blood pressure
- reduces heart diseases
- dissolves emotional stress
- relaxes and clarifies the mind
- enhances concentration
- increases self-control and willpower
- helps with insomnia
- lessens depression
- soothes headaches
- alleviates pain during childbirth
So now next time you are experiencing a moment of stress, you know what you should do. Remember, the state of mind, whether calm or agitated, is reflected in the way you breathe.
Through deep breathing your body will be filled with vital energy and you will be more self-aware and more self-controlled.
Thus, in moments of apprehension and distress, once you master the breathing techniques, you can control the stress better.
I hope you will find the time to practice the above breathing exercise and most important of all, that you find them useful.
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