QUICK AND EASY BREATHING TECHNIQUES

Box Breathing.

This type of breathing helps reduce stress and improves sleep when practiced once or twice a week for 2 to 3 minutes.

First: find out what your carbon dioxide (Co2) discard rate is with this quick exercise:

Take a normal inhalation, then time yourself to see how long it takes you to fully empty your lungs during a normal exhale.

Results fall between 20 seconds (or less) to 50 seconds (or more):

A: 20 sec or <: brief or low cCo2 tolerance

B: 25 to 45 sec: moderate level of co2 tolerance

C: 50 sec or >: high degree of co2

Please keep in mind that Co2 tolerance level does not reflect your fitness level and how athletic you are. Also, if you are particularly stressed, your Co2 levels will be small, but if you have had a good night sleep and are relaxed, those levels will be higher.

Your practice of boxed breathing will be based on your level of Co2 tolerance:

If you are:

A – inhale for 3 counts, hold for 3 counts, and exhale for 3 counts

if you are

B – inhale for 5 or 6 counts , hold for 5 or 6 counts, and exhale for 5 or 6 counts.

if you are

C – inhale for 8-10 counts, hold for 8-10 counts, and exhale for 8-10 counts

Benefits of this practice:

Encourages deeper breathing with fewer breaths

Reduces over breathing

Improves levels of calm and quality of sleep

Overtime, you may see your Co2 tolerance levels increase as well.

Reference:

How to Breathe Correctly for Optimal Health, Mood, Learning & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast https://youtu.be/x4m_PdFbu-s

4-7-8 Breathing.

by Dr. Andrew Weil

Also called the relaxing breath, the 4-7-8 exercise serves as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system:

First time: practice sitting with your back straight (once you are familiar with it you can do it lying in bed).

Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth. You’ll keep it there for the entire exercise.

Completely exhale through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound.

Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose as you mentally count to four.

Hold your breath for a count of seven.

Exhale completely through your mouth, making another “whoosh” sound to a count of eight

Reference: https://www.verywellhealth.com/

Resonance Breathing.


Also called coherent breathing, resonance breathing can help you avoid an anxiety attack by putting you in a calm, relaxed state.

Lie down and close your eyes.

Gently breathe in through your nose, mouth closed, for a count of five seconds.

Exhale for five seconds, allowing your breath to leave your body slowly and gently. Don’t force it.

Continue this breathing pattern for at least a few minutes.

Take a few additional minutes to be still and focus on how your body feels.

Reference: https://www.verywellhealth.com/

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Also called Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing can help quiet the mind, and it can help you settle your body and emotions.

Take a comfortable and tall seat, making sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.

Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.

With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. We will use mostly the thumb and ring finger.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.

Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.

Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.

Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.

Inhale through the right side slowly.

Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).

Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.

Repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.

Reference: https://chopra.com/

Pursed Lips Breathing

This type of breathing helps to bring more oxygen to your lungs, which then leads to a feeling of calm and relaxation.

Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.

Breathe in (inhale) through your nose

Pucker or “purse” your lips as if you were going to whistle or gently flicker the flame of a candle.

Breathe out (exhale) slowly and gently through your pursed lips while counting to four. It may help to count to yourself: exhale, one, two, three, four.

Repeat 5 to 10 times. Stop if you feel lightheaded.

Note:

Do not force the air out.

Always breathe out for longer than you breathe in.

Breathe slowly, easily, and relaxed … in and out … until you are in complete control.

Reference: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/

The Humming Breath.


Also called humming bee breath, this technique promotes relaxation through the vibration created with the breath. It helps shed the tension in your body.

Take a comfortable seat or stand with a straight spine.

Consciously take longer, fuller, deeper inhales and exhales (both should be of equal length)

Breathe in through the nose for at least five seconds.

With your mouth closed, hum as if you’re saying “hmmm” until you’re out of breath.

Repeat five to seven times.

Once you’ve finished, restore your natural breath and observe the effects of your practice. Feel the vibrations of your hum echo throughout your body. Allow them to reach every crevice and corner to shake away any lingering tension or stress

Reference: https://www.leahsugerman.com/

Quieting Response


This exercise combines deep breathing with visualization. Be creative with your visualization and pick anything that feels good to you. For example, you can visualize the breath as dry or wet steam (as in a sauna), gentle hands that caress you, icy air that cools down your body, etc…

Take a deep breath, visualizing the breath as “hot air” entering the body through your feet.

Imagine now the hot air slowly flowing up your legs, your upper body, and then filling the lungs/gently caressing your lungs.

Relax each muscle as the hot air passes it.

Breathe out slowly, imagining the air passing from the lungs back into your upper body, then your legs, before leaving the body through your feet.

Repeat until calm.

Reference: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

Cyclic Sigh


This is the fastest physiological way to reduce stress and introduce calm in real time

Take one deep inhale through the nose, immediately followed by a second inhale (it can be very short). Then, you exhale slowly through the mouth. That represents one cycle.

The second inhale helps maximize inflation in the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs). The alveoli may collapse between breaths especially when we are stressed. Since they are damp inside, they tend to stick within themselves like an empty balloon, and thus the physical vigor exerted during the second inhalation helps prop them open, re-inflating them with air.

One cycle is enough to reduce stress immediately and bring calm to the body. It is the perfect exercise before a speech, an important event, an exam, or a performance.

Cyclic sigh cycles repeated for 5 min/day provides stress reduction beyond the practice. It helps re-balance the autonomic system by triggering a shift from sympathetic (arousal) to parasympathetic (calm) control. Sleep and mood improve around the clock as well, not just right after the exercise.

Reference:

How to Breathe Correctly for Optimal Health, Mood, Learning & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast https://youtu.be/x4m_PdFbu-s


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