Types of Breathing Exercises
1- The Basic Breath—Deep Abdominal Breathing
- Start by lying down in a relaxed pose
- Place a book or your hand on your abdomen just below your ribcage.
- Inhale slowly through your nose, letting your abdomen expand like a balloon. Focus on elevating the book/hand with each inhalation.
- Now let your abdomen fall as you exhale slowly through your nose. Press the air out, bringing the book/hand back down.
- Focus on breathing deeply and rhythmically into your abdomen.
- Try to exhale a little longer than you inhale.
Learning to breathe from the abdomen will take time but with conscious effort it eventually becomes second nature. Once the practice is mastered in the lying down position, practice in a seated position. Eventually you will use the technique while standing and walking until it becomes a habitual pattern in your day. You will become aware of how you breathe and how it affects every aspect of your life.
Never strain. Breathing is a natural function of the body and should be executed with ease an enjoyment.
Keep your mind blank by concentrating on the breath.
Keep your jaw relaxed.
Mildly contract your abdomen at the end of each breath to expel the last remaining stale air.
2- Alternate Nostril Breath
- Sit in a comfortably cross-legged position with your back straight.
- Raise your RIGHT hand and place your thumb against your RIGHT nostril, closing it off.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through the LEFT nostril to the count of 2.
- Close off the LEFT nostril with your ring finger (or index finger) and retain the breath for a count of 1 second.
- Open the RIGHT nostril and exhale to the count of 4 seconds. Concentrate on completely emptying the lungs.
- Breathe back in through that same RIGHT nostril to the count of 2.
- Close off the nostril with the thumb again and hold to the count of 1 second.
- Exhale through the LEFT nostril to the count of 4 seconds. This is one round.
- Repeat these rounds of alternate nostril breathing five more times, or up to ten minutes if you are helping promote sleep.
- Once you have mastered this pace of 2:1:4, you can increase this to 4:2:8, and then to 8:4:16.
Practice the Alternate Nostril Breath when you are nervous, upset or irritable, it will calm you and help you feel centered.
When we practice alternate nostril breathing we are supplying the brain with additional oxygen.
We are also reconnecting the mind body connection.
3- Complete Breath
- Sit in a comfortably cross-legged position or in a chair
- Straighten your back, which will straighten your thorax for easier breathing.
- Inhale slowly through the nose, breathing deeply, consciously.
- Take five seconds to fill the lower part of the lungs, by expanding the ribs and pushing the abdomen out.
- Concentrate on filling the top of the lungs for the next five seconds. This will expand the chest and tighten the abdomen slightly.
- Hold the breath for 1-5 seconds.
- Exhale slowly until you have emptied the lungs.
- Repeat 4-5 times.
Try and regulate breathing to achieve a rhythmic rise and fall of your abdomen.
Practice breathing with your eyes closed, this will prepare you for meditation.
Push your abdomen out as you breathe in, and pull the abdomen in as you breathe out.
Push all remaining air out of your lungs when you reach the end of exhalation to rid yourself of toxins that may be at the bottom of your lungs.
Try not to hunch over. You can maximize your breath when in the erect position.