A Breath of Fresh Air: How to Breathe Deeply

Many people like to practice deep breathing at a yoga class or during meditation. Unlike shallow breathing, it helps the body relax and affects the way the body moves. However, this technique can be beneficial outside of the gym, in everyday life.

Shallow breathing greatly limits the amount of oxygen taken in by the lungs by up to two thirds or more. It can also reinforce tenseness and stress, and restrict the amount of oxygen flowing in the blood from the lungs to the body’s cells.

You can help your body develop an automatic deep breathing cycle with this simple how-to:

  1. Place your fingertips on your abdomen.
  2. Inhale slowly through your nose while expanding your abdomen muscles and watching your fingers move outward.
  3. Exhale slowly through your nose, watching your fingers move inward.
  4. When all the air seems to be exhaled, gently force as much of the remaining air out of your lungs just by squeezing inward with your abdomen muscles.
  5. Inhale slowly again and continue the cycle while mentally paying attention to your breath cycle.

Repeat for several minutes, two or three times a day, several times a week for several weeks until you’re naturally breathing deeply.

Once you’ve mastered the above exercise, shift your focus to various parts of your body. Select a part of your body, then relax. Let go of any tension as you exhale, such as tension in your face, your jaw, your throat and your shoulders. Open your chest, roll back your shoulders, and allow your spine to become more erect. Let your chest expand on the exhale which will help you to open your chest and straighten your spine.You may do this exercise while standing or sitting.