Different Types of Breathing Exercises and Its Benefits
by Rachel Fuentes, Contributor
Aside from maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise, staying healthy is possible with practicing daily breathing exercises. Usually associated with meditation and yoga, this technique is becoming more popular with people needing stress management and relief.
Using breathing exercises offer a lot of advantages. It helps expands the lungs, which in turn affects the overall response of the body and the mind to tension and stress.
It takes only little effort to learn how this is done. It doesn’t require any equipment, which means it’s basically free, and you can do the technique anywhere.
Mastery of it, however, takes months to do. But the benefits of learning proper breathing can contribute a lot to the well being of your body, mind and spirit.
Types of breathing exercises
Pranayama is the most common and basic of all breathing exercises. Otherwise known as abdominal breathing, this technique involves deep and slow inhaling and exhaling. You take in air deeply and release this slowly, enhancing your diaphragm and improving your breathing capacity.
The word “pranayama” is of Sanskrit origin and when loosely translated, prana means breath control. Many forms of breathing exercises are derived from pranayama, which is why it’s best to master this basic first before you move on to the advanced methods.
Below are three techniques derived from pranayama:
• Sitali Pranayama. It is a cooling breath technique in when you inhale through the mouth, and curl or roll your tongue through pursed lips as you breathe. This is most useful during warm weathers or when you are running a slight temperature, as the method is effective in lowering body temperature.
• Ujjayi Pranayama. This ocean breath technique is when you mimic the sound of the ocean as you breathe in and out. The method requires control of the diaphragm and there is a certain speed and length to it. Combined with power yoga and asana, this benefits your lung's strength and helps with regulating blood pressure.
• Anulom Vilom Pranayama. The alternate nostril breathing technique is when you inhale and exhale air one nostril at a time. This exercise helps clear the head from migraine, sinus problems and snoring. It also helps regulate blood circulation.
What are the benefits of these breathing exercises?
Better sleep. These breathing exercises can be done as soon as you get up from sleep or before you retire to bed at night. A few weeks of doing any of these exercises, you will soon notice that your sleep is better and more rejuvenating.
Minimized stress. You can also do breathing exercises in the middle of the day to help you find your center and get back into the groove. For a quick relief, you can try breathing and then humming as you exhale. This method is an effective stress relief and keeps stale air off your system.
Increased concentration. Because the technique allows your mind to be free of stress and tension, doing breathing exercises regularly tend to keep your thinking sharper and your body more energized. Your ability to grasp information is also more enhanced.
When you have to do these breathing exercises, remember that posture is important. Posture affects the way air comes in and out of your lungs. You should also be sitting in a comfortable position. As you learn to do this, you will feel some of your muscle areas slowly increasing in strength.
Be careful, though, in doing some of the exercises. Overdoing it can cause hyperventilation. A wide and open area is necessary so that the flow of energy is without blockages. For some of the techniques, you may need to have a pillow and a mat to execute it.
Photo Credit: whatmegsaid