4 Breathing Techniques For Your Wellness
When we think of exercise routines, breathing is usually a secondary idea. That is, we all know that deep breaths and adequate respiration are necessary for a good workout, but most of us don’t actually think about it that much – we simply breathe as needed. This is perfectly fine in most situations, but it also downplays the importance of a deep breath and practiced breathing techniques for general wellness.
Deep breathing exercises won’t necessarily help you lose weight or build muscle. But they do help to calm you down, and there are other benefits as well. For instance, regularly practicing breathing techniques can actually make you more naturally effective at exercise respiration. Additionally, in some cases, it can even work your core and abdominal muscles.
Given these benefits, here’s a short outline of a few techniques you might want to try working into your daily routine.
1. Nadi Shodhana
Nadi Shodhana is perhaps more commonly known as “alternate nostril breathing,” which is, in fact, a perfect description of what it is also. There are complicated techniques if you want to do it exactly right (in terms of how to position your fingers), but the general idea is to sit cross-legged, keep your back, neck, and head in an erect line, and breathe deeply through one nostril at a time. There are actually believed to be numerous benefits to Nadi Shodhana, and while some concern vague ideas like being “centered,” others involve stress relief, clear respiratory channels, and even improved concentration.
2. Guided Visualization
Guided visualization is meant to actually be guided by a fitness instructor or even a psychological instructor of some kind. However, the underlying idea is simply to close your eyes and breathe deeply while visualizing a “happy place” or a scenario that relaxes you. It’s about as simple as it comes in theory, though the actual meditative practice of focusing solely on a given image can take time. Once you master it, however, you can actually train yourself to take more effective breaths both in general and while exercising.
3. Sama Vritti
Sama Vritti is also called “equal breathing” and can be described and interpreted a number of different ways. The best simple description may come from a fairly recent blog post about exercises you can do while gaming (or watching television for that matter): all you have to do is inhale through your nose for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four. You can then up the count to six, eight, or even ten as you get used to the technique. The idea is relaxation and abdominal work, and it’s certainly an exercise that will get you more comfortable with deep breathing in general.
4. Bellows Breath
This is one we’re borrowing from another piece on this subject, which pointed out that Bellows Breath, or “The Stimulating Breath,” can result in feeling invigorated which is great for any exercise routine. The idea is simply to keep your mouth shut and do quick nasal inhalations and exhalations – three each in a single second if you can. You should do this for 10 or 15 seconds to comprise a “cycle” and then relax and breathe normally for a time before repeating the exercise. In addition to improving your respiratory process, this exercise actually directly works your diaphragm.