Americans sink incredible amounts of money into supplements and tools designed to improve wellness. What most don’t realize is that the best apparatus for better health is built into our bodies, and its totally free. Proper breathing alone can have incredible effects on the body, and some believe might even aid in weight loss.
Most don’t even realize that they need to improve breathing. Though some suffer from actual breathing disorders, like sleep apnea which can cause breathing to stop throughout the night or asthma, or have damaged their lungs through the use of tobacco smoke which contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, half of which are cancer-causing, others simply don’t know how to breath correctly.
Better breathing starts with deeper breathing. Kussmaul breathing, the deep and labored pattern associated with severe metabolic acidosis like diabetic ketoacidosis and renal failure, proves, however, that proper breathing isn’t just deep. Essentially, proper breathing is about breathing to relax. The more relaxed the body is, the better it is able to perform essential functions. Here we’ll look at some breathing exercises from TIME Magazine that will help you relax and improve your health.
Proper Breathing Exercises
- Equal breathing- Equalize the lengths of your inhales and exhales, perhaps doing each for a count of four, all through the nose. Breathing through the nose increases resistance to the breath and helps calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress.
- Abdominal breathing- Place one hand on the chest and the other on the belly. Take a deep breath through the nose, making sure your belly inflates instead of your chest. Take six to ten over the course of a minute for about ten minutes.
- Alternate nostril breathing- Close one nostril off with your thumb and inhale, then open that nostril and close the other when you exhale. Continue the pattern, alternating through which nostril you inhale.
- Skull shining breath- Take a long slow inhale, followed by a quick, powerful exhale from the lower belly. Do this 10 times, every one or two seconds.
- Progressive relaxation- Close your eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two or three seconds each. Start with the feet, and then move up the body, all while maintaining slow, deep breaths.
- Guided visualization- This is usually accomplished with a coach, therapist, or even a recording. Breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images that will chase out negative thoughts.
Proper breathing is a great way to improve daily health and stress levels without investing in expensive equipment or supplements. Practice better breathing to enjoy better overall health, greater relaxation, and a happier body.