How This Helps

When our blood lacks oxygen it becomes dark in color and leads to dark complexion, poor digestion, malnourished tissues, and body organs. This deoxygenated blood further leads to anxiety, stress, depression, and fatigue and makes the situation difficult to cope with. 

Science and Research

Proper breathing is important for both physiological and psychological health. Proper breathing helps to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, muscular tension, and fatigue. 

Deep breathing exercise

Sit on a comfortable posture or lie down on a rug and bend the knees and keep feet 8 inches apart.

1.      Place your hands on abdomen and chest

2.      Inhale slowly from nose till your lower abdomen raised than your chest.

3.      Hold your breath for a moment and then exhale via mouth.  Smile and make a quite relaxing sound.

Continue this breathing till 5-10 minutes, once or twice a day, and can be extending to 20 minutes. At the end, compare your tension before and after the exercise. Once you mastered it practice deep breathing in your daily life. Women with pregnancy and individuals with chronic conditions should consult a doctor before practicing.




See: Pranayama breathing exercises & poses

Roll breathing exercise to relax

Do you notice the way you breathe when you feel rested? The next time you're relaxed, have a minute to notice how your body feels. Or consider how you breathe just before you fall asleep or when you first wake up in the morning. Breathing exercises are useful because they make you relax, and make your body feel like it does if you're relaxed already.

Deep breathing is a fast-acting method to lower the stress within your body. Why? When you breathe deeply, your body sends a message to your brain to simply calm down and relax. The brain then transmits this message to your own body. All of those things that occur when you're stressed, such as increased heart rate, quick breathing, and higher blood pressure, start decreasing as you breathe deeply to relax.

How you breathe affects your entire body. Breathing exercises are an easy way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.

Breathing exercises are simple to learn. You do not need any gear or tools to do them, and you can do them whenever you want. You are able to do different exercises to determine which work best for you.

How can you do breathing exercises? There are many breathing exercises one can do to help unwind. The first exercise below - belly breathing - is easy to learn and simple to accomplish. It's ideal to start there in case you've not completed breathing exercises before. The other exercises are more advanced. All these exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.

Roll breathing: Roll breathing will help you to develop full use of your lungs and to concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in almost any position. But while you're learning, it's best to lie on your back with your knees bent.

Place your left hand on the stomach and your right hand on your chest. Be aware of how your hands are moving as you breathe in and out. Breathe and fill your lower lungs so that your "stomach" (left) hand goes up when you inhale, and your "torso" (right) hand stays still. Always breathe through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this ten times.

When you have completed the cycle of filling and emptying your lower lungs ten times, add another step to your breathing: inhale into your lower lungs as before, and then keep inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do this, your right hand will rise, and your left hand will drop a little as your stomach drops.

As you exhale gently through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing noise as your left hand and then your right-hand fall. As you are exhaling, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.

Practice breathing in and out of this manner for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the motion of your stomach and chest rises and falls like the movement of rolling waves.

Notice how you are feeling at the end of the exercise.

Practice roll breathing every day for many weeks before you can do it virtually anywhere. You can use it as an immediate relaxation tool anytime you want one.

Caution: Many folks get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. Slow your breathing if you start to breathe too quickly or feel lightheaded.

Morning breathing: You can try this breathing exercise when you first get up in the morning.  It will help to relieve muscle stiffness and clear blocked breathing passages. You can also use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.

Bend forward while standing and from the waist with your knees slightly bent, allowing your arms dangle near the floor.

As you inhale slowly and deeply, go back to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head.

Hold your breath for only a couple of seconds in this position.

Exhale slowly as you go back to the first position, bending forward from the waist.

Notice how you are feeling at the end of the exercise.

See: Yoga & meditation for natural stress relief

Belly breathing exercise to relax

Belly breathing: Belly breathing is very relaxing and easy to do. Try this simple exercise anytime you have to relax or relieve stress.

Sit or lie flat in a comfortable place.

Place one hand on your belly below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.

Breathe deeply in through your nose, and allow your belly to push out your hand. Your chest shouldn't move.

Breathe out through your pursed lips like you were whistling. Feel the hands-on your stomach go in, and use it to push all of the air out.

Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with every breath.

Notice how you are feeling at the end of the exercise.

Next measures

After you've mastered stomach breathing, you might want to try one of the more advanced breathing exercises. 

This exercise also utilizes belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise in a sitting position or lying down.

To begin, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest as from the belly breathing exercise.

Take a deep, slow breath out of your stomach, and silently count to 4 as you breathe.

Hold your breath, and then silently count numbers from 1 to 7.

Exhale completely as you quietly count from 1 to 8. Try to get all of the air from your lungs by the time you count to 8.

Repeat 7 days or until you feel calm.

Notice how you are feeling at the end of the exercise.

See: Triangle Pose in Yoga - Trikona Asana for Digestion & Anxiety

Studies in breathing exercises and stress

Science and Research

Research published in an International Journal of Nursing Studies found that home-based deep breathing exercises found to effective in reducing symptoms of depression. Further, A research published in an International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Medicines has found that deep breathing exercise significantly reduces academic stress and improve academic performance.  

See: Nose breathing exercises for health benefits

References

1. Chung, L., Tsai, P., Liu, B., Chou, K., Lin, W., Shyu, Y., & Wang, M. (2010). Home-based deep breathing for depression in patients with coronary heart disease: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47(11), 1346-1353. DOI:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2010.03.007

2.  Paul, G., Elam, B., & Verhulst, S. J. (2007). A longitudinal study of students' perceptions of using deep breathing meditation to reduce testing stresses. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 19(3), 287-292. DOI:10.1080/10401330701366754

See: Nadi Shodana Pranayama - Alternate Nostril Breathing

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