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Breathing is something we do from our birth to our last days. It is common for most of us to overlook it as something very ordinary and a general part of life. But it is much more important if we understand the importance, value and the power of breathing.
Yes, it is the fundament behind our lives and existence, however, breathing has the potential to transform our lives if we can connect ourselves with it. It can detoxify the body, improve the process of digestion, provide energy to the body and cultivate calmness and relaxation that can be very useful for good mental health.
Eastern Healers, Yoga Practitioners and Buddhists have been preaching about its effectiveness for hundreds of years. This has been evident in the strong focus that is laid on breathing techniques in various meditation practices and yoga asanas.
Science too has acknowledged the connection between breath and its effects on mind, body and overall health. A study conducted in 2018 by the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, concluded that respiration and focus have a neurological link, and indulging in consistent breathing exercises have a significant impact on noradrenalin, a natural chemical messenger that gets released when we focus or face challenging or emotional situations.
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The question that arises now is what are these breathing exercises? How do we do them and help us keep ourselves calm, relaxed and grounded. Don’t go away too far looking for answers, as we discuss some of the best breathing exercises that promote calmness and improve both your physical and mental health below.
Top Breathing Exercises that Promote Calmness
1. Belly Breathing
Belly breathing, popularly known as abdominal breathing, is very common yet effective and easy to do a breathing exercise. You can do it anytime to relieve any kind of stress. It works best when you are feeling excessively emotional or angry as it relaxes the mind and helps you to calm down quickly. Follow the steps mentioned below to do belly breathing.
- Sit down or lie down on a flat surface and make yourself comfortable.
- Put one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest.
- Now start taking deep breaths through your nose to your belly so that the hand placed on the belly goes up. Make sure that your chest doesn’t move during this process.
- Now breathe out through your mouth. You can do it with pursed lips as if you are whistling. You can use the hand on your belly and push all the air outwards.
- Repeat the process from anywhere between 5 to 10 times at one go. Be slow and take time with each breath you inhale and exhale.
Through Belly Breathing, the supply of oxygen and nutrients will improve throughout the body cells. Similarly, there will also be an increase in the supply of blood to bones and muscles. This eventually slows down your heartbeat and stabilizes your blood pressure, ultimately relaxing your mind.
2. The 4-7-8 Breathing
The 4-7-8 Breathing exercise is another common and widely used breathing exercise for promoting calmness. It has various benefits and its procedure uses belly breathing as well. To do the 4-7-8 breathing, you should:
- Lie down or sit down on a flat and comfortable base.
- Just like we do in belly breathing, put one hand on your belly, just below the rib cage and the other hand on your chest.
- Start taking a slow and deep breath from your nose to belly and count till 4 while breathing in.
- As soon as the hand on the belly goes up, hold in the air and count silently from 1 to 7.
- Now start breathing out, and exhale from your mouth making a whoosh sound. Count from 1 to 8 as you blow out the air completely.
- Repeat this exercise from 5 to 7 times or as long as you want until you feel calm.
This breathing technique not only cultivates calmness in your mind but also aids in getting better sleep, managing your food cravings, controlling your emotions, especially responses like anger. There is a chance that you may feel lightheaded or dizzy initially, therefore it is crucial to take precaution and do this exercise in a sitting or lying position only.
3. The Roll Breathing
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Roll breathing is a breathing technique/exercise that is solely focused on the full use of lungs for developing a rhythm in breathing patterns and deriving the best result out of those. It is a bit complex, especially for beginners. You will require some practice for a few days to be able to do it perfectly, but once you have mastered it, you will see some great results. It can be done in any position, but we recommend that you do it in a lying position when you first try it. Once you are confident, you can switch to any other position of your liking. The steps for doing roll breathing are:
- Lie down on a flat surface on your back and bend your knees.
- Put your left hand on your belly and simultaneously your right arm on your chest.
- Breathe in through your nose and inhale the air into your belly rather than your chest.
- Once you do this, your left arm will go up but your right arm will remain stable. Now breathe out through your mouth. Follow this step for 8 to 10 times in continuation.
- Now you are required to move to the second phase of this breathing technique. In this, you are going to need to inhale into your upper chest. When you do this, your left hand will go down but the right hand on your chest will start rising. Continue breathing slowly.
- Now exhale from your mouth, making a whoosh sound. You should be able to feel anxiety, nervousness and tension leaving your body as you exhale.
- Practice this daily for 5-10 minutes. Once you are comfortable, you can do this in any position. You need to notice that as you breathe in and out, that the movement of your belly is making a motion of rolling waves, which is an indicator that you are doing things correctly.
Besides taking away stress and tension, this exercising technique helps in managing fatigue, chronic pain, depression and heart rate. It makes you feel free and light, ultimately making you healthy both mentally and physically.
4. Modified Lion’s Breath
Also known as a Lion’s pose, this is very exciting and fun to do exercise that is equally effective in alleviating stress from your body. It is fairly easy too when compared to other breathing exercises. In this, you have to consider yourself as a lion and focus on breathing out with a wide mouth. You can do this exercise by:
- Sit down comfortably on a chair or on the floor.
- Start breathing in through your nose and fill in your belly entirely with air.
- Take in as much air as you can, and when you cannot take any more air, get ready to exhale.
- To exhale, open your mouth as wide as you can, push your tongue completely out, and then push the air out making a “ha” sound.
- Repeat this exercise several times. Do it every day for 10-15 minutes at least.
This breathing method has a lot of advantages. Besides calming your mind, it helps in eliminating toxins from the body and stimulating your throat and chest. It relaxes your facial muscles and fills you with energy. It even assists you by enabling you to easily release emotions and taking pressure off your mind.
5- Morning Breathing
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Morning is considered the best time for doing exercise. Breathing exercises when done in the fresh morning air immediately after you wake up can be very effective in removing all of your stress and anxiety and giving a calm and relaxed start to the day ahead. This morning breathing exercise is fairly common and simple to do.
- Start by standing straight and then bending down from your waist keeping your knees slightly bent.
- Let your arms dangle close to the floor while you are bending down.
- Now slowly raise yourself and return to a standing position, inhaling deeply throughout. Lift your head only after the entire body is straight.
- Now hold your breath in the standing position for a few seconds.
- Repeat the process of bending again, albeit this time exhale slowly as you bend.
- Keep repeating the steps several times for 10 to 15 minutes.
Doing this exercise continuously every day helps you in coping with stress, worries, tension and anxiety in a much better way. Besides, it helps in making you more tolerant and keeps you grounded in tough situations. Additionally, it is effective in lowering your heart rate and stabilizing your blood pressure.
While breathing exercises are super-efficient in cutting down your stress levels and bringing calmness in your lives, another easy yet highly effective way to stay stress-free is to drink a lot of water every day. This is approved by science, and multiple studies have concluded that staying hydrated helps you to manage stress efficiently.
You can try drinking Alkaline Water instead of your regular water. Alkaline water gets easily absorbed by the billions of cells in your body, and they stay hydrated for longer periods. You can try the new DYLN Bottle to get Alkaline Water anywhere and any time you want. It comes with a VitaBead Diffuser at its base that converts regular water into Alkaline Water within a few minutes.
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Other than being vital for keeping us alive, breathing has a lot more powers, of which most of us aren’t usually aware. It has a strong connection with your mind and once you can discover this connection, then there are endless possibilities of controlling your mind and emotions.
Breathing exercises are a simple and acknowledged way of establishing a connection with your mind. These are approved universally to help alleviate stress, keep you relaxed, maintain calmness, remove negative thoughts, throw out false ego and keep you grounded in all situations.
By following the steps and exercises mentioned above, you can take a big step towards improving your mental health. By staying stress-free and being calm in all situations, you can ultimately live a healthy and quality life.