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The Profound Power of Breathing

https://elemental.medium.com/the-profound-power-of-breathing-feeb8628512d

elemental.medium.com

The Profound Power of Breathing
T ake a few normal breaths. Feel your chest rise and fall? If so, you're doing it wrong, according to breathing therapists and scientists. Make a quick fix there, and maybe introduce a few breathing exercises to your day, and you'll be able to reduce stress, improve your focus, and even lower your blood pressure, among other health benefits.

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Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises

Breathing is at the core of ancient (and currently trendy) mindfulness practices, from yoga and tai chi to meditation.

However, studies suggest that breathing exercises alone, derived from those ancient yoga practices, can be good for the body and mind. 

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Deep, controlled breathing

Deep, controlled breathing

It involves filling the lungs to the max and goes by various names like belly or diaphragmatic breathing.

It has been linked to improved cognitive performance, lower stress levels, and lower blood pressure.

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Breathing and yoga

Breathing and yoga
Belief in the benefits of controlled breathing goes back centuries.

Central to ancient Hindu philosophy was prana, described as vital “airs” or “energies” flowing through the body. Stemming from that belief, yoga was built on pranayama or breath retention. 

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Breathing in meditations

Breathing in meditations
In the first half of the 20th century, deep breathing began to emerge on its own as a relaxation method.

Every relaxation, calming, or meditation technique relies on breathing, which may be the lowest common denominator in all the approaches to calming the body and mind.

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Controlling your breathing

Controlling your breathing
Breathing is the only autonomic system we can wrest control of.

Controlled breathing techniques can get one autonomic system under control and in turn affect others (like the heartbeat), alleviate momentary anxiety and longer-term emotional stress, and perhaps even improve physical and cognitive health outcomes.

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Belly breathing

Belly breathing

Normal human breathing at rest should raise the belly, not the chest.

To relax during a particularly stressful moment, take three slow, deep belly breaths to interrupt the fight-or-flight response.

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The belly breath of pranayama

The belly breath of pranayama
  • Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. 
  • Breathe in through your nose and fill your lungs from the bottom up, first expanding your belly, then your chest, and finally raising the collar bones. 
  • Pause. 
  • Then gently exhale from top to bottom, using your stomach muscles to push out the last of the air. 
  • Pause. Then repeat.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

How it’s done:  Inhale for a count of 4, then exhale for a count of 4, all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. Once you manage it, you can go up to a c...

Abdominal Breathing Technique

How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure.

When it works best: Before an exam, or any stressful event.

Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”

How it’s done: Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb and exhaling through the left nostril.

When it works best: Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize.

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Breathing Techniques for Muscle Tension Relief

Breathing Techniques for Muscle Tension Relief
  1. Stand up straight and bend forward at the waist. Bend knees slightly, letting your arms hang limply, close to the floor.
  2. Inhale slowly and deeply, and return to a stan...

Breathing Techniques for Side Pain

Practicing deep “belly breathing” can reduce the stress on the supporting ligaments of the diaphragm and can help relieve side stitches. 

Belly breath: Lie down on the floor and place a hand on your belly. Breathe deeply. If you feel your hand rise and fall slightly with your breathing, you’re belly breathing. If your chest is moving instead of your stomach, you’re not breathing deeply enough, and need to adjust.  

Breathing Techniques for Increased Energy

  1. Sit up tall, and relax your shoulders. 
  2. Keep your mouth closed and inhale rapidly through your nose with quick, short breaths (exhale quickly as well). 
  3. Try doing that for about 10 seconds
  4. Take a 15-30 second break and breathe normally. Repeat several times.

The Importance Of Breathing Techniques

The Importance Of Breathing Techniques
  • Many different civilizations have practiced different breathing techniques as a part of their culture and their lifestyles, such as Taoists and Hindus.
  • Proper breathing a...

The Special Power Of Breathing

  • The power of breathing is evident with people who have breathing disorders. As emotions affect our well-being, so does our breathing.
  • Our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are in control of producing feelings of calmness and the latter, the body's rapid involuntary response to stressful situations.
  • Many studies have confirmed the effects of breathing techniques against anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Although they do not disappear entirely, it helps alleviate their symptoms.

Cardiac Coherence

  • It is a popular technique that promotes relaxation by coordinating our breathing, slowly and steadily, with our heart rate, stabilizing the heartbeat.
  • There are many versions to cardiac coherence: 5-second inhale-exhale for a 5-minute repetition or 4-second inhale 6-second exhale cycle.
  • Cardiac coherence’s stabilization of the heartbeat can dampen anxiety powerfully.