The stresses of everyday living can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Meditative breathing exercises can give your mind and body a much needed break in order to heal and relax. Meditative breathing exercises not only help you recover from stress, they also have other health benefits. Meditation slows down your heart and breathing rate, stabilizes your blood pressure and increases the amount of oxygen your body takes in.
The Bellows Breath is a common meditative breathing exercise used in yoga. When done properly, it will increase your energy and increase your awareness. First, sit in a comfortable position. Next, keep your mouth closed and your jaw relaxed. Breathe in and out rapidly through your nose. Keep the breaths as short as possible, but equal in length. This technique should not go over 15 seconds on your first try. As you continue your practice with the Bellows Breath, you may later increase the duration by 5 seconds, until you reach 1 minute.
Relaxing Breath is a simple exercise. As you learn it, you’ll want to sit with your back straight. To start, place the front of your tongue behind your upper teeth and hold it there for the exercise. Fully exhale, making a whizzing sound as air passes around the mouth and tongue. Count to 4 as you inhale through the nose and hold your breath for 7 seconds. Exhale again for 8 seconds. This finishes your first set. Inhale and repeat 3 more times.
Ocean Breath helps to strengthen both your throat muscles and your diaphragm. It encourages an increase in oxygen supply while also helping the body to relax. To warm up, sit straight and take in a few deep breaths. Next, cause tension in the throat, but not too much. This should feel similar to the tension needed by the throat to fog a mirror. With a slightly constricted throat, you should now take in a slow breath through the mouth or nose. After you’ve inhaled, maintain control and exhale slowly. Both exhale and inhale breathing should last the same amount of time. You can repeat these breaths 10 to 15 times at first and then extend the repetitions as you become practiced in Ocean Breath.
Breath of Fire
Breath of Fire is a rapid breathing technique. For those who are just starting out, you may feel lightheaded when you do it. It’s important to ask your health care provider about this exercise before trying it. Sit comfortably with your head and neck held straight. Relax before starting and take in a few deep breaths. To begin, inhale and exhale rapidly. Each inhale and exhale should be less than one second each. It’s important to establish a rhythm with your breathing and keep the length of the inhale and exhale equal. Take breaks during this exercise by breathing normally.
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