Regularly doing breathing exercises is a way to improve overall well-being by increasing the flow of oxygen through the body. Advantages include mental alertness, improved energy levels, less stress and better system functioning. Try any of the following breathing exercises to calm, energize and revitalize.
- Basic Abdominal Breathing. Learn how to master abdominal breathing before trying other more advanced exercises. This technique relaxes the body and encourages more efficient breathing. Inhale through the nose, focusing on filling your abdomen with air. Your abdomen should rise more then your chest. Hold for a count of four and then exhale through the mouth for a count of eight. Repeat this exercise for five minutes.
- Humming Breath. For this breathing exercise start with the basic abdominal breath. During the exhale make a humming sound. Exhale as long as you can, drawing in your abdominal muscles. Try this exercise for three minutes, relaxing in between each breath.
- Bellows Breath. Also known as the stimulating breath, this technique is perfect for invigorating the body and mind during that afternoon slump. With mouth closed inhale and exhale rapidly through the nose. Practice even breaths, ideally two or three each second. Do this for fifteen seconds and then rest. Add five seconds to this technique each time it is practiced.
- Soothing Breath. This breathing technique can be used to relax the nervous system. It is slightly more dynamic then basic abdominal breathing. Try practicing it twice a day for long-term health benefits. After fully exhaling, place the tip of the tongue comfortably against the border between the back of your two front teeth and the gums. Inhale through the nose for a count of four, hold for a count of seven and exhale for a count of eight. Do this for five complete breaths.
- Chinese Breath. Of all the breathing exercises this is the most difficult to master. While the other techniques should be done sitting down with the spine straight, this one can be done while standing. Start with three short but deep inhales through the nose. One the first raise the arms in front of you to shoulder height, on the second open the arms to the sides, on the third lift straight up. Exhale through the mouth, sweeping the arms in an arc back down to your sides. Do ten breaths.