Breathing exercises and techniques can be used to improve our wellbeing in many ways. From reducing stress and anxiety to clearing a stuffy nose, there are lots of different ways that you can focus on your breathing when it comes to improving how you feel. If you are interested in improving your well-being with something as simple as changing how you breathe, here are some breathing techniques that you might be interested in learning more about.
Buteyko Breathing Exercise
If you often find that you are sleeping with your mouth open to breathe as your nose is blocked and stuffy, there are several things that you can do. Firstly, cleaning the air with a dehumidifier or air purifier in your room can make a difference. Doing Buteyko breathing exercises can also be helpful for no more sleeping with a stuffy nose.
This exercise is designed to open the nasal passageways by clearing out any fluid that is blocking them. Start by gently inhaling and exhaling. Close your nose with one hand and hold your breath, and then nod your head up and down until you can no longer hold your breath. Let go of your nose and breathe out through the nose while keeping your mouth closed. You can repeat the process after thirty seconds and do it up to five times in order to clear a stuffy nose before you go to bed or if you have a cold.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
If you are dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety at the moment, alternate nostril breathing can be an ideal way to get back in control and feel calmer. This breathing exercise involves blocking one nostril as you breathe through the other. Alternate between nostrils to force yourself to take deeper breaths and be more mindful of your breathing. It’s best to do it while seated so that you can maintain good posture throughout.
Lion’s breath, also known in Sanskrit as simhasana, involves sticking out your tongue and roaring like a lion. It is a very helpful deep breathing exercise that can be used to relieve muscle tension in the jaw and face, improve heart function, and better deal with stress. Perform the exercise in a comfortable, seated position while leaning forward slightly. Keep your hands on your knees, or on the floor. Inhale through your nose, before opening your mouth wide, sticking your tongue out, and stretching it downwards. Exhale with force, carrying your breath across the root of your tongue, and make a ‘ha’ sound from within your abdomen as you exhale. Breath normally for a few seconds, and then repeat.
Also known as coherent breathing, resonance breathing can be useful for reducing anxiety and helping you get into a relaxed state. To begin with, lie down somewhere comfortable and close your eyes. Keep your mouth closed, and gently inhale through your nose for six seconds, without letting your lungs get filled up with a lot of air. Then, gently breathe out for six seconds, allowing the air to slowly leave your lungs without force. Continue doing this for up to ten minutes or until you begin to feel more relaxed while focusing on how your body feels.
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that focuses on your breathing to bring your attention to the present. It can be useful for stressful situations, or when you are dealing with depression or anxiety about the past or future. Take gentle, deep breaths and focus on your breathing to block out other distractions. If it helps, you can choose a calming focus such as a word, phrase, or sound to repeat to yourself silently as you breathe in and out.
Breathing is something that we all do every day, mostly unconsciously. By focusing on your breathing and channelling it with various useful breathing exercises, you can improve your overall well-being and mental state.