15 Breathing Exercises Everyone Should Do
Breathing exercises are a powerful tool for improving overall health and well-being. Here are the 15 best techniques to implement today!
From reducing stress and anxiety to improving lung function and cardiovascular health, the benefits of breathing exercises are vast and varied.
In this article, we will explore a variety of breathing exercises that can be incorporated into your daily routine to improve overall health and well-being.
The Most Popular Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can also be incorporated into daily activities, such as taking a deep breath before starting a task or taking a few deep breaths during a break at work.
These small, yet effective, practices can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Here are 15 of the most popular breathing techniques:
1. Relaxing Breath
One of the most popular breathing exercises is the 4-7-8 technique, also known as “relaxing breath.”
This exercise involves inhaling for a count of 4, holding the breath for a count of 7, and exhaling for a count of 8.
This pattern encourages slow, deep breathing, which helps to relax the body and calm the mind.
2. Belly Breath
The “belly breath,” also called diaphragmatic breathing, is a powerful breathing exercise. This method involves taking deep breaths into the diaphragm, instead of shallow breaths into the chest.
Here’s how to practice this exercise:
- Place one hand on the chest and the other on the belly.
- Take a deep breath in, allowing the hand on the belly to rise as the diaphragm expands.
- Exhale slowly, allowing the hand on the belly to fall back down.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is a type of breathing exercise used in yoga and is also beneficial for overall health. It is also known as Nadi Shodhana.
The exercise involves blocking one nostril and inhaling through the other, then switching and exhaling through the opposite nostril.
This technique helps to balance the nervous system and improve overall breathing function.
4. Box Breathing
The box breathing exercise involves:
- Inhaling for a count of 4;
- Holding the breath for a count of 4;
- Exhaling for a count of 4;
- And then holding the breath again for a count of 4.
This technique helps to improve focus and concentration, and can also be used as a tool for managing stress and anxiety.
5. Skull-Shining Breath
This yoga-based breathing exercise involves rapid, forceful exhalations followed by passive inhalations. It’s also known as Kapalabhati, which literally translates into “skull-shining”.
This technique helps to improve lung function, increase energy levels, and promote overall well-being.
6. Lion’s Breath
This exercise involves taking a deep inhalation, then exhaling while simultaneously making an “AHH” sound and sticking out the tongue.
This technique helps to release tension in the face and throat, and can also be used as a tool for reducing stress and anxiety.
7. Humming Bee Breath
This yoga-based breathing exercise involves inhaling deeply, then exhaling while making a humming sound, like a bee.
This technique helps to stimulate the nervous system, improve breathing function, and promote overall well-being.
8. Equal Breathing
This breathing exercise, also known as Sama Vritti, involves inhaling and exhaling for the same count of time.
This technique helps to balance the nervous system and promote overall relaxation.
9. Victorious Breath
This yoga-based breathing exercise, also known as Ujjayi, involves narrowing the back of the throat while inhaling and exhaling.
This technique helps to improve lung function and promote overall relaxation.
10. Cooling Breath
This yoga-based breathing exercise, also known as Sheetali, involves inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose.
This technique helps to reduce body heat and promote overall relaxation.
11. Pursed Lip Breathing
This exercise is helpful for people who have COPD or asthma. It involves breathing in through the nose and exhaling through pursed lips, similar to blowing out a candle.
This technique can help to slow down breathing and make exhalation easier, which can be beneficial for those with breathing difficulties.
12. Bellows Breathing
This exercise is a quick and energizing breathing technique that can help to increase energy levels and improve focus.
It involves inhaling and exhaling rapidly through the nose. It’s important to keep breathing smooth and even and be careful not to hyperventilate.
13. Breathing Meditation
This exercise is a simple yet powerful way to reduce stress and anxiety. It involves focusing on the sensation of the breath as it moves in and out of the body.
You can sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, and simply observe your breath, without trying to change it in any way.
This method can assist in calming the mind and inducing relaxation.
14. The 4-2-6-2 Breathing
This exercise is a variation of the 4-7-8 technique, and it focuses on holding your breath.
Here’s how to do it:
- Inhale for a count of 4;
- Hold your breath for a count of 2;
- Exhale for a count of 6;
- Hold your breath for a count of 2;
- Repeat the entire process.
This technique can help to slow down breathing and increase lung capacity, it’s also useful for managing stress and anxiety.
15. Seated Spinal Twist Breath
This technique involves sitting in a comfortable position with a straight back and taking deep breaths while twisting your torso to the right and left.
It can help increase flexibility in the spine and improve lung capacity.
Individuals with certain health conditions, such as asthma or COPD, may need to modify certain breathing exercises to ensure safety.
So, while breathing exercises can be beneficial, you should consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise routine, especially if you have breathing problems.
Overall, incorporating breathing exercises into a daily routine can lead to a host of health benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety and improved lung function, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being.
Whether practiced for a few minutes each day or incorporated into daily activities, breathing exercises are a simple yet powerful tool for improving your health.