Breathing exercise is an effective tool to attain a relaxed and clear state of mind as we can control and adjust the pace and depth of it. There is a 20% reduction in the blood level of oxygen by the aging process and our normal breathing practice. Poor quality of breathing habits decreases our energy and negatively affects mental attentiveness. If we do not follow the proper way of breathing, the aging process badly affects our respiratory process.
The rib cage and the chest muscles become stiff causing inhalation to become more problematic. Reduced elasticity and weak chest muscles leave impure air in the lung tissues and prevent fresh oxygen to reach the bloodstream. Rapid and shallow breathing is often attributed to bad posture and stiff or weak muscles. It leads to some respiratory diseases, poor oxygen supply to tissues, lethargy, and heart diseases.
There are some easy ways to get the maximum benefit from breathing exercises. Let us know in detail.
Complete breathing exercises
Sit up straight on a firm and flat surface. Exhale slowly and deeply. Inhale slowly and deeply gently relaxing the belly muscles. Try to feel your belly is feeling with air. Continue inhaling even after your belly is filled up with air. After filling the belly, fill up to the middle of the chest. Try feeling your rib cage expanding. Hold your breath for 3 seconds, and then start exhaling slowly. As the air is going out, relax your rib cage and chest wall. Slowly but forcefully pull your belly to exhale as completely as possible. Close your eyes while doing so and try to concentrate on your breathing. You should relax your mind completely, and not think about anything else except your breathing – choose a calm and cool place. Repeat the whole procedure continuously for 5 minutes. You should try doing this procedure twice daily.
Belly breath exercise
Lie down over a flat and firm bed on your back. You can keep some small pillows to ease you up. Put your palms just below the rib cage. Your middle fingers would touch each other barely. Take a slow deep breath. When the diaphragm is pushed down, the stomach will expand a little and your fingertips will be separated a bit. This movement points to the full use of the lungs – culminating in a really deep breath rather than the ‘puffed chest’ breath practiced by many people as the maximum lung capacity. Continue doing this breathing exercise for 5 minutes in a row.
Humming breathing exercise
Follow the procedure as in the case of complete breathing exercises like mentioned above. When you are exhaling, utter the word ‘HUM’ or ‘AUM’. The sound should come from the deep of your soul. Keep sounding the word as long as possible. Pull up your stomach muscles, and then squeeze out some more humming. Then relax. Again do the same procedure five times.
Chinese breathing exercise
Chinese Tai Chi Chuan gave us an excellent short and deep breathing exercise. Three short inhales are allowed through the nose. Between these, exhaling is not permitted. During the first inhale, the arms are to be lifted from the sides straight out to the front side at the height of the shoulder. During the second one, the arms are opened out straight to the sides keeping it at the same level. During the third, the arms are raised over the head. Then exhalation is to be done through the mouth. The arms are moved in a semicircle back down to the sides. Generally, 10-12 inhalations are sufficient or you can do it until you feel any kind of headache.