Proper Breathing

Do you breathe correctly?

Do you pay attention to your breathing?

Do you know how to take a full breath?

Deep breathing exercises are equally as important as physical exercise. In Yoga, it is believed that if you use your full breath, you use your whole brain! But what does taking a full breath actually entitle to?

Natural Breathing

If you observe a baby breathe in, you will see a little expansion movement over his chest as well as his stomach extending.  That is the natural way. Unfortunately, during growth the breathing pattern will change. Most grownups tend to breathe high up in the chest. This is due to social stress and the ego. They let their chests do all the work instead of breathing from the belly. As a result, energy does not flow correctly and may even become blocked.

What does “taking a full breath” really mean?

Taking a full breath refers to using our full lung capacity, where we start the “in breath” from your belly first, then your ribcage and finally your upper chest. As you complete taking a full breath, hold your breath for a few seconds before releasing it. In this way, the air is able to reach your entire lungs, optimizing the oxygen intake.

Then release the “out breath” in the same order, flattening your stomach first, then your chest and finally your shoulders. As you complete your exhalation again hold your breath for a few seconds. Relax in that moment to give time to all our carbon monoxide to live your lungs.

Practice

When we breathe from our belly, the muscles of the abdomen are doing part of the work of breathing.  We should feel our abdomen expand and contract while breathing just like we can feel our chest expand and contract while breathing. Breathing fully can be done standing, sitting, or lying down. The important thing is that the spine be straight.

Breathing while laying on your back, will exercise your diaphragm muscle the most. Some people find it easier to breathe from their belly’s while lying down or standing than while sitting. Do which one works for you. When you breathe just from the chest, air does not always reach all places in your lungs.

Benefits of “taking a full breath”

  • Increased awareness: As you practice inhaling and exhaling a few times, you will see how relaxing it is and yet makes you feel very aware!
  • Increased relaxation: More important, when you’re breathing from your belly, it encourages Qi to flow smoothly through all parts of your body.
  • Increased oxygenation: By taking a fuller breath, more oxygen comes into the lung and passes through the alveoli into the blood. A richer oxygenated blood will contribute to a better overall metabolic rate throughout your entire body, resulting in more energy and more vitality. Air is the most important nutrient for our body and therefore, breathing exercises are very important. When you yawn, it is a sign of lack of oxygen, not tired.
  • Increased refreshment/energy: Practicing full breathing is highly recommended for people who are frequently feeling tired and fatigued. Regardless of age, fitness level and physical condition, everyone will benefit from proper full breathing. The better and more effectively your breath, the quicker you achieve good vitality. So when tired, try breathing instead of drinking tea or coffee!

Breathing Exercises

There are many types of breathing exercises for various results. Here are two types that will greatly help you.

1 to 1 ratio: Breath in on a count of four, then breath out on a count of four. This will assist you in getting proper oxygenation in your blood as well as develop all your breathing muscles.

2 ton 1 ratio: Breath in on a count of four, then breath out slowly on a count of eight. It is recommended to use the “Haaa” sound during exhalation. This breathing exercise is very calming to your entire energy field.

Magical Set – The 3 Breaths

When faced by stress or anger, I always encourage my clients to consider practicing the “three breathes”. It as a magical benefit to bring you back to your calm center!

With the first full breath, just acknowledge how you are feeling at that moment. Allow yourself to fully immerse in the sensation.

With the second full breath, feel the change, the opening, the energy flowing through your body and the negative energy leaving your body.

With the third breath feel your new level of energy, relaxation and enthusiasm, smile inside.

I even encourage you to do the 3 breaths exercise several times a day.  There actually are no limitations. The more you practice this exercise, the more its magic will become obvious to you.

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