Breathing is the process through which we obtain oxygen and release metabolic waste products like carbon dioxide. Improper breathing can affect the flow of these gases to and from our body contributing to anxiety, depression, muscle tension, headache and fatigue.
Breathing properly is one of the simplest and the best ways of relieving tension and stress.
Why breathing exercises ?
The best way to learn proper breathing technique is to observe an infant breathing. In infants you will find the abdomen expand and collapse while breathing. This technique of breathing called abdominal breathing is the natural breathing process where breathing is even and non constricting. Inhaled air is drawn deep into the lungs and exhaled as the diaphragm contracts and expands.
During stress our breathing shifts to chest breathing which is shallow, irregular and rapid. The objective of breathing exercises is to replace chest breathing with abdominal breathing to reduce muscle and mental tension associated with stress.
Frequency and duration
Preferably daily for 10 – 15 minutes.
How to do / Technique
- Lie down with your legs straight and slightly apart and your toes pointing outwards, arms at your sides not in touch with your body, palms up and eyes closed.
- Breath through your nose and try to control the breathing in such a way so that while breathing your abdomen rises and falls and not your chest.
- Gently place both your hands on your abdomen and notice the rise and fall of the abdomen with each inhalation and exhalation.
- If you experience difficulty breathing in through your abdomen then press the abdomen with your hands as you exhale and let your abdomen push your hands back while inhaling. Carry on this exercise for 10 – 15 minutes.