Thursday, 9 February 2012

Exercises For Breathing Easier |

Exercises for Breathing Easier Photo Credit Take your breath image by Christophe Schmid from

Breathing is a vital function that generates the air flow necessary for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases in your body. Beyond that, breathing patterns reflect our state of mind and body. Mental and emotional tension can alter the pattern of breathing, resulting in undue muscular tension and impaired exchange of gases — meaning cells receive too little oxygen while carbon dioxide accumulates. According to the book "Integrative Medicine," conscious control of your breath can help with heart rate, blood pressure and many other bodily functions.

Invigorating Breath

This breath is adapted from a yoga technique and is also known as "bellows" breath. Done properly, the short, staccato movements of the diaphragm give this invigorating breath its characteristic appearance and the sound of a bellows used to stoke a fire. It is helpful for increasing energy and alertness, such as during a break at work, or when you need more energy but a "power nap" is not an option. Additionally, the Himalayan Institute claims, the bellows breath increases circulation to digestive organs, toning the liver, spleen, stomach, and pancreas and increasing digestive capacity.

To perform this breath, breathe in and out rapidly through the nose, keeping inhale and exhale times equal, and attempting to breath in and out three times per second. At first, rounds of 15 seconds are sufficient; as you become accustomed to this technique, you can go longer without risk of dizziness or discomfort.

Relaxing Breath

This three-part breath is calming and centering. It can be used to prevent stress and tension from building up during the day, and to unwind at the end of the day. It can also be used as a remedy for insomnia. In the first part, breathe in through the nose, with the mouth closed, to a count of four. For the second part, hold the breath to a count of seven. For the third part, exhale through the mouth to a count of eight. Holding the breath or portioning the phases of inhalation and exhalation to a particular count can be awkward at first, so you may want to speed up the counts. However, it is important to preserve the ratio of four counts for the inhale, followed by seven counts of holding, then eight counts of exhaling, the website Dr. Weil cautions.

Counting Breath

Breath counting is an exercise in awareness of the breathing, and is used as a form of meditation in some disciplines. To do this exercise, sit in a comfortable upright position, with your chin slightly tucked. Without imposing a rate or rhythm on the breath, count each exhale up to five, then repeat from one, never counting beyond five, Dr. Weil instructs. This centers the mind and is a gentle way to alter the breathing without conscious effort, since awareness of unhurried breathing tends to bring an element of calmness to the mind and body, diverting the attention from anything stressful and redirecting it inward.


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