Breathing is fundamental to our existence and is usually done unconsciously. We don’t think about it, we just do it.
Usually, in modern life, our breathing is shallow and at the top part of the lungs. Taking control of the breath and deepening our breathing is powerful and doesn’t cost anything.
Learning to breathe and control our breathing can/will have a tremendous impact on our health and happiness.
All the ancient cultures of the world have information about using breath control to aid health, healing, concentration, relaxation, internal power and even enlightenment.
Practical breathing techniques to try yourself;
IMPORTANT: if you feel dizziness then stop!
Breathing through the nose with mouth closed. Breath in for a count of four and out for a count of four. Once comfortable increase the count up to six or eight.
Equal breathing helps get you into a feeling of balance and is really effective when going to bed.
Breathing through the nose with the mouth closed. Breath into and out of the belly rather than the chest.
You use your diaphragm to gently push downwards on your in-breath. This draws air into the whole lung. Transferring the maximum possible amount of oxygen to the blood which in turn is fed to all the cells in the body. Using the diaphragm for breathing massages the belly and organs below as well.
Abdominal breathing is excellent for helping with deep relaxation. It is also used in many meditation techniques.
Alternate nostril breathing
This is where you breathe in slowly through one nostril and breathe out through the other one. Blocking with finger and thumb.
Alternate nostril breathing is used by yoga and martial arts practitioners to help control the ‘monkey mind’ as it gives a feeling of peace in the body.
Conscious body relaxation breathing
This is another yoga technique where you lie on the floor or on a bed on your back. Legs slightly apart and arms not touching the body. Hands can be face up or down whichever is comfiest.
With eyes close take a couple of deep, abdominal breaths …
… and begin to consciously relax from the tip of the toes, up the legs, thighs, groin, buttocks, torso, chest arms, hands, neck, face and head.
Some practitioners recommend tensing and relaxing the muscles as you go through, others simply ‘let go’ of any tension.
You often find you doze off during this process and it can be an excellent way of getting off to sleep at night.