Breathing Exercises

  • 07

    February, 2018

    Breathing Exercises

    Posted by : Breathing Exercises

    Category : The journey to HAPPINESS

    Breathing Exercises 

    As one enlightened yogi, Sri Swami Satchidananda said:

    “Truth is One, Paths are Many.” (LOTUS, 2017)

    When it comes to relaxation, all science points to the same thing – a calm mind will cultivate a healthy and happy body. This calm can be achieved by various means. What works for one won’t work for another, due to personal preferences and habits.

    Breathing Exercises

    The most mobile, silent and effective technique for relaxation is deep breathing. Engaging in abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help reduce stress and anxiety.

    How does it work?

    “Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.” (AIS, 2012)

    Not only is deep breathing easy to learn, but it becomes automatic with practice.

    Here’s are the steps for Deep Breathing:

    • Sit in a comfortable position, or lie down.
    • Put one hand on the abdomen, right under the rib cage.
    • As you start inhaling air, your stomach should rise and expand outward.
    • Exhale slowly and completely through the mouth, and notice the stomach empty.
    • Repeat several times until you feel calmer. (Mental Health Wellness Week, 2017)

    When breathing fast, a person activates their sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in the ‘fight or flight’ response, and thus signifies stress for the body. When breathing slow and deep, the parasympathetic system becomes active and calms the person down. (NPR, 2010)

    With increased calm, breathing slows down, so the body consumes less oxygen and produces less carbon-dioxide. Moving away from stress and the ‘fight or flight’ response, helps the body to invest the saved energy towards digestion, self-healing, and regeneration. (Spire, 2015)

    Other breathing techniques to try include:

    Calming Breath

    1. Take a slow breath through the nose, filling lower and then the upper lungs.
    2. Hold the breath for a count of three.
    3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, and feel the muscles in the face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach relax.

    This breath should be practised ten times a day and is helpful for moments of transition. Such as between projects, as it helps the body let go of stored tension.

    Calming Counts

    1. Sit comfortably.
    2. Take a long, deep breath and exhale slowly.
    3. Close the eyelids.
    4. Take 10 natural breaths, and count down with each exhale starting at 10.
    5. As you continue breathing comfortably, notice any tensions. Imagine those tensions melting away.
    6. As your countdown reaches one, open the eyes.

    This breathing takes about 90 seconds to complete. Within this time, the individual can notice the worrying thoughts, and begin to control and release them.

    (Anxieties, 2017)

    For those suffering from anxiety, and in need of immediate relief, here is a technique for you:

    The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

    1. Place the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth (behind the front teeth).
    2. Breathe in for a count of four, through the nose.
    3. Hold the breath for a count of seven.
    4. Release the breath with a whooping sound for a count of 8.
    5. Without a pause, repeat steps 1-4 for another three or four times.
    6. Then resume normal breathing.

    In moments of panic or shock, breathing becomes shallow, which results in a build-up of carbon dioxide, producing inflammation and acidification in the body. By slowing down the breath, holding it in, and then exhaling for a longer time, the individual can get rid of as much carbon dioxide as possible, and return the body to its equilibrium. (Gifford, 2014)