Breathing is one of the things that comes naturally to all of us. After all, it’s what we need to survive! But did you know that there’s a way to optimise how we breathe in a manner that improves our health? Like meditation, practicing deep breathing allows us to achieve deep levels of relaxation.
Importance of breathing properly
Taking long and deep breaths allow our bodies to take in large amounts of oxygen. This can help our minds to become clearer and our brains to function better. Furthermore, breathing deeply has also been shown to help induce a calming effect. This is why the art of breathing properly is often exercised in meditation techniques and other mind-body activities such as yoga and tai-qi.
How to breathe properly
Breathing may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s actually a technique to it. Try employing these 3 tips and own your breathing:
1. Breathe through the nose
Through no fault of their own, some people have the habit of breathing through the mouth. Unfortunately, this is considered to be optimal because the air ends up being trapped in the chest instead of going into the lungs. To breathe properly, be mindful of breathing through the nose. This allows oxygen to enter your lungs more efficiently.
2. Exhale longer
Increasing the duration of your exhale can induce a deeper, more calming feeling. It requires a level of mindfulness in order to be more aware of exhaling longer, and in turn, it gives you a heightened sense of control and calmness. A good rule of thumb is to extend the length of your exhaling so that it’s twice the duration of your inhaling.
3. Practise diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is one of the more advanced breathing techniques that you can bring to bear, but it is simple enough to attain. It requires you to lie down, place your hand on your lower belly and breathe mindfully. With each inhale and exhale, you should feel the movement of belly rising and falling in a slow and controlled manner. This is an indication of your diaphragm moving downwards and upwards, showing that your lungs are working properly and efficiently with each contraction and expansion.
The differences in breathing techniques might seem subtle, but they can have a significant effect on your health and performance, especially if you’re athletically inclined. It might feel a bit unnatural at first but the more you practise, the more comfortable you’ll be with it.