Our day-to-day life can get stressful as we try to juggle our priorities and commitments without a glitch. With the inevitable stress and anxiety gnawing away at us, it can take a toll on our mind, body and health if we don’t do anything about it. Surely, catching up with your besties over drinks or a night out partying can bring out the endorphins, but be mindful, they’re all temporary. What you need is a long-term benefit that can be done in an instant.
If you feel like you’re at a crossroads right now, and cannot decide how to ease your worries, incorporating these breathing exercises into your everyday routine can alleviate your concerns. Incorrect breathing techniques can lead to ailments, panic attacks, emotional disturbances and fatigue. Once you have aced these breathing techniques, you’ll definitely discover the healthier and better version of yourself! So, let’s get to know what these breathing exercises are and how to do them correctly.
1. Pursed lip breathing
This technique is meant to be slow, deliberate and intentional. Breathing this way helps to pump in more oxygen to your lungs. Practice this exercise four or five times a day to get the pattern right. It’s a simple exercise that relieves anxiety, and is particularly beneficial for those suffering from respiratory conditions. You can do this breathing whenever you feel shortness of breath.
- Sit in a comfortable position, and relax your neck and shoulders.
- While keeping your mouth closed, inhale through your nostrils for 2 seconds.
- Next, pucker or purse your lips as though you’re going to whistle or drink from a straw.
- Exhale slowly and steadily through your pursed lips for 4 seconds.
2. Lion’s breath
Lion’s breath is associated with relieving tensions on your face and chest. It also strengthens the lungs, clears emotions and gives you a surge of energy. You can do this at any time of the day, but doing it in a private environment is recommended as it requires you to exhale loudly (and your face will not look the prettiest while your tongue sticks out!)
- Sit in a comfortable position – cross-legged or on your heels.
- Place your fingers on your legs or on the floor. Turn them inward toward you, and spread them as wide as possible – mimicking a lion’s claws.
- Inhale through your nose. Ensure your mouth is closed.
- Open your mouth, and stick your tongue out down toward your chin.
- Exhale forcefully with a ‘ha’ sound. Feel the breath come from deep within and pass over your tongue. Make sure your tongue is out for the entire exhale.
- Breathe normally for a few seconds, and repeat the technique seven times.
- Conclude by breathing deeply for two or three minutes.
3. Focused breathing
This breathing requires you to focus on slow, deliberate and deep breathing while tuning out any thought and emotion that might cause distraction. It can be associated as a form of meditative breathing where you experience each and every breath inhaled from your nostrils right down to your lungs. You’re channeling abundance of peace, positivity and relaxation throughout your body with this breathing technique. By the end of the session, you’ll feel rejuvenated, peaceful and ready to take on the day!
- Find a comfortable place to sit. You can lie down too.
- Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.
- Breathe in. While doing so, imagine that the air around you is filled with peace.
- Breathe out. Now, imagine your stress and anxieties leaving your body through your exhale.
- In the next round, use a phrase like ‘I breathe in peace’ as you inhale, and ‘I breathe out stress’ as you exhale. Visualize it happening. These focus words/phrases, along with the imagery, will relax you a little more.
- Continue this for about 10-20 minutes.