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Breathing technique overview and breathing exercises

When we breathe naturally and efficiently we use only the diaphragm to draw air into the lungs (belly breathing). Inefficient breathing is characterized by expanding the ribs to draw the air in and therefore leaving the lower third of the lungs practically unused. (Chest breathing). This poor breathing technique is very common today and it is associated with bad posture and previous learning.

Correct breathing should be practiced at all times when you are stretching (active and static) and while exercising. Try and notice just how much better you perform when your breathing technique is correct. Belly breathing can also be done at times during the day when you remember. e.g. when in a queue, if need to calm down, driving etc.

In combination with the exercises below it will not be long before you are breathing correctly and naturally all the time. At this point these exercises will further advance your breathing efficiency with corresponding health benefits.

Breathing technique exercises

These are designed to re-educate you about breathing correctly. They should be done everyday for the first few weeks. Once these are mastered you can move onto other breathing exercises to continue long term.

The breathing exercises can be after your active stretching routine in the morning. They are also great to do just before bed. They help to energize the body by getting more oxygen to the cells which nourishes and removes toxins.

Correct breath

• Standing (or lying to begin) place your hands so that they are over the lower and upper stomach muscles as well as on your chest.

• Inhale by letting you lower stomach come out followed by the upper stomach and then rising into the chest. Imagine this as a wave starting from the lower stomach and rising into the upper chest.

• Exhale by first drawing in your lower stomach, then the upper stomach and finally releasing the air in the chest. This is same wave like pattern from when you inhaled.

• With the lungs cleared, wait until the body naturally wants to draw air into the lungs and repeat using the same wave of inhalation above.

• Repeat for at least 10 breaths practice.

Stretching breath

• Draw in a deep breath using your diaphragm.
• Hold this breath then engage the core and reach up to the sky with your arms and stay on your tip toes reaching for the sky with breath held for 5 seconds.
• Repeat 5 times

Whistle breath

• While standing upright breathe in deeply.
• Hold your breath for 5 seconds
• Then let out a continuous slow but steady note by whistling.
• Repeat 5 times

Raising arm breath

• While breathing in raise your arms from your sides until they link overhead.
• Hold 5 seconds and exhale by bending over and squeezing all the air out with your stomach.
• Repeat 5 times.

Overhead breath

• Link your hands directly overhead.
• Take 5 deep slow breathes in and out.

Performing these regularly will enable you to increase your breathing capacity as well as help spinal stability by educating your body to breathe correctly.

These exercises are just a part of the overall approach to healthy living. To learn more about how to achieve your health and fitness goals check out my results course.

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