Breathing correctly is an art that can be learnt and mastered. Given below are some easy-to-do exercises to help you breathe correctly. At first, you may find them a little uncomfortable. However, with a little practice, you will positively notice a difference in your performance.
You need to lie on your back on a flat surface, while you rest your head on a small pillow or a rolled-up towel to give support. Spend a few minutes lying still while you listen to music to distract yourself from your breathing. Now start:
And Breathe Correctly
Increasing lower lung activity
- Place one hand on your stomach.
- Tighten up those belly and stomach muscles so that they tuck in.
- Relax those muscles again and feel the difference between tension and relaxation in this area.
- Repeat this exercise five times to heighten your awareness of your belly area.
- Rest for a moment and allow yourself to breathe. It does not matter whether you breathe quickly or slowly. Now continue.
- Place one hand on your belly. Inhale in such a way that the hand on your belly is pushed up.
- Breathe out through your mouth, making a long ‘haaaaa’ sound. Notice how your belly deflates and how your hand goes back down. Repeat this 10 times.
Increasing upper lung activity
- Lie down on the floor and spread your arms out to make a cross, your arms making the horizontal line and your body the vertical line. Notice how spreading your arms give your chest so much more room.
- Now fold your arms tightly over your chest, as if you are hugging yourself. Repeat this five times. Take a break and then continue.
- Repeat this exercise. However, this time breathe in as you open your arms out wide and breathe out when you fold your arms over your chest. Repeat this 10 times. Only when you are comfortable doing both these exercises should you try the next.
Co-ordinating upper and lower lung activity
- Breathe in through your belly area and let the air fill the chest cavity as well. Do this as smoothly as possible.
- Practice this until you can do it effortlessly.
- Now co-ordinate your breathe-in and breathe out. Breathe-in correctly and allow the air to escape from the top of your lungs first before the belly area ‘deflates’.
- Practice this until you can do it smoothly.
You need to work on your breathing for two main reasons. Correct breathing can prevent you from getting stressed in the first place, and it can help you regain control more quickly once you are stressed.
(Thorsons Principles of Stress Management, By Vera Peiffer, page 59, HarperCollins, 1996).