Breathing is one of those activities that we take too much for granted. Following are breathing habits that can impact on our health.
Breathe mainly through your nose.
Ideal breathing rate at the state of relaxation is 5.5 or 6 breaths per minutes (less breaths per minute is even better). Achieving that will require holistic healthy lifestyle.
Practice breathing: At least once a day, breath deeply: few deep and long inhales followed by complete long exhales. Additional popular breathing exercises are listed in details below.
Meditate every day for at least 10 minutes. Among other things, it will help you increase awareness of better breathing.
Surround yourself with plants, especially in your apartment and in the room you sleep in. I recommend plants that release high levels of Oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide and other toxins. I'm using Areca Palm, Snake plant (Sansevieria / Dracaena trifasciata), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Aloe vera, Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) and Common ivy. All of these are also very easy to grow.
Use air purifiers to improve the quality of the air in your home. Read more about it in the Breathe better air post .
Popular breathing techniques
The following breathing exercises can help you to relax, reduce anxiety and stress. It will also lower your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular and lung functions. I recommend to practice few of the following breathing techniques every day, while you are sitting or lying down comfortably.
(Optional: Place your hand on your belly) Take a deep breath into your belly. Exhale completely and repeat a few times.
(Optional: Move your hand up to be on your rib cage) Take a deep breath, aim to your ribs and feel them expand. Exhale completely and repeat a few times.
(Optional: Move your hand up to be on your collarbone) Take a deep breath, aim to the center of the chest and feel the chest expand. Exhale completely and repeat a few times.
The last part of this exercise is to combine the 3 parts into 1: Inhale first into the belly, then continue the breath into the ribs, and finally into the chest. Exhale from the chest, then the ribs, and finally the belly. An ideal practice will be 20 and 30 repetitions once a day.
Alternate nostril breathing (also known as Nadi Shodhana pranayama)
Close your right nostril with your finger
(*) Inhale from the left nostril and then close your left nostril
Open your right nostril and exhale from the right nostril
Inhale from the right nostril and then close your right nostril
Open your left nostril and exhale from your left side
Start another cycle from the (*) mark
Continue for a few minutes
The famous breathing technique by Dr. Andrew Weil.
Inhale 4 seconds from your nose
Hold 7 seconds
Exhale 8 seconds from your mouth, while doing a "whoosh" sound.
You can practice that as much as you want.
A simple and easy practice for relaxed breathing.
Inhale 4 seconds
Hold 4 seconds
Exhale 4 seconds
Hold 4 seconds
All is done through the nose. There are few variations, like extended exhale of 6 seconds, followed by a pause of 2 seconds instead of 4. You can practice that as much as you want.