“One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing” Byron Nelson
When your breathing is restricted it creates an unseen chain reaction in the body that can greatly compromise your overall health, well-being and ability to think clearly.
You can literally create miracles simply by adjusting the flow of your breath. Imagine being able to reduce stress hormones, calm your emotions, boost your oxygen intake, gently massage your internal organs, let stress go, come back to your centre, relax your muscles, detox your body and simply improve the overall efficiency of your organs and body.
How to breathe better:
1: Lift your chest:
Rounded shoulders and sunken chest squish your lungs and restrict your oxygen intake. Give your body, lungs and organs some more breathing space. Improve your posture and open your chest up.
2: Breathe past your collar bones:
Short shallow breathing is the sign of a stressed, tense body with thoughts to match. Simply soften, relax and deepen your inhale each time you catch yourself in panic mode with short, shallow breathing.
3: Don’t squeeze your stomach in when you inhale:
A relaxed soft belly allows your lungs and diaphragm to fully expand. Squeezing the tummy in (on the inhale ) restricts your oxygen intake.
4: Breathe into your belly:
Feeling your belly rise and fall with each breath cycle is something I am taught regularly in yoga. Place your hands on your belly and feel them rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. It’s a fabulous way to know for sure that your breath is reaching all the way down to your belly.
5: Fill the front, sides and back of your belly:
If you are keen to get extra clever – feel the front, sides and back of your belly area expand with each inhale. You might notice, like me, that the back area of your belly is often tighter and not as open as the front or sides.
Simply bring your awareness and breath to any tight areas of your belly and use the breath to invite more softness and spaciousness. Ah! use your exhale to let go, release and create that extra space inside your belly area.
6: Un-hunch your shoulders:
Hunched shoulders block the flow of blood and energy to your brain. Relax your shoulders, open your chest, lengthen your neck and create more breathing space between your shoulder blades. Notice how much easier it is to breath now.
It also wouldn’t hurt to part your lips slightly and make sure no tension is being held in your jaw.
7: Exhale fully:
As you exhale fully and deeply, feel your belly button move towards your spine. Use your exhale to remove all that stale, stuck yucky air and energy lingering in the bottom of your lungs.
8: Exhale longer:
Spend longer on the exhale if you are wanting to slow your thoughts down, relax your body or let go of something. Use your exhale to create a healthy breathing space between you and the busyness of the outside world.
If I’m a bit frazzled spending twice as long on the exhale is a quick way to re-balance my breathing and energies.
9: Stop holding your breath.
When you start paying more attention to your breath you may find that you hold your breath more often than you realize. Simply being aware is the perfect first step towards improving the quality of your breath.
10: Your nose is for breathing, your mouth for eating:
In all the practices I have explored over the years – yoga, tai chi, qi gong they have all encouraged to breath in and out through the nose.