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Even though we have been breathing for all our lives, we can still learn a lot about this most basic instinct.
Quick, shallow, and unfocused breathing may contribute to anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. However, scientists find that around six exhalations a minute can be restorative, triggering a relaxation response in the brain and body.
Breathwork is not the same as mindfulness. Mindfulness involves passive observation of the breath, whereas breathwork requires you to actively change the way you breathe.
Breathwork includes ensuring you breath with your diaphragm, rather than the movement of your chest. It will fill your lungs with more air while also slowing the pace of your breathing.
Slow breathing is a quick and easy way to change your state, whether it is to decrease stress or increase your energy and focus, or even in creative problem-solving. Other science-backed benefits include:
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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...
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.
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.
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...
When it works best: Before an exam, or any stressful event.
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.