We do it about 20,000 times a day without even thinking about it, but sometimes it helps to slow things down. While they might not work for everybody, breathing exercises are so simple that they’re always worth a try!
Spending a few moments each day with one (or a few) of these exercises can help rid the lungs of stale air, increase oxygen levels, and more.
While they’re all pretty easy, we’ll start things off with the simplest of all.
Bring your elbows back slightly and allow your chest to expand. Take in a deep breath through your nose, hold for 5 seconds, and then slowly release through your nose once again.
This one is perfect if you just want to feel a bit more relaxed or to relieve shortness of breath.
In order to work properly, this breathing exercise actually requires a bit more technique and focus.
Find a comfortable position and slowly inhale through your nose. Through pursed lips, allow air to escape gently without using excessive force. Imagine a candle at arm’s length that you want to flicker but not blow out!
This technique can help open airways, expel carbon dioxide, and can help you gain a sense of control over your breathing.
This one is actually something you can add to the end of other breathing exercises to help clear airways even further. There are two types:
Take a normal breath in and then a long breath out until your lungs feel quite empty. Pretend you’re trying to warm up your hands on a cold day!
The medium-volume huff targets secretions lower in your airways.
Breathing in deeply, open your mouth wide and quickly huff out using the same technique above. Only do this one or two times as it can tighten your chest if you do it repeatedly.
The high-volume huff targets secretion in the upper airways.
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This is likely the one you’ve heard of before (in technique if not in name), box breathing can help with relaxation and stress-management. Due to the visual aspect of it, it can also be implemented in active or less calm environments.
Visualize a square and as you complete each breath you’re going to picture a journey around the sides. Breath in through the nose, hold, breath out, hold, counting to four on each step.
This breathing exercise is all about aligning your mind with the rhythm of your breath.
This one is best done with someone leading you through it. You are to breathe in and out and really focus without letting your mind wander. If it does, gently return your mind to the present.
Luckily, there are more than a few videos you can find that will guide you through a mindful breathing exercise. We particularly like this one.