How do you breath correctly? Here are some exercises to teach you how!
Exercise #1: Lie on your back and blow out all your air. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Practice breathing slowly without filling up your chest first. Make sure your stomach is expanding and filling up with air first. Your stomach, sides, and lower back should all expand while you inhale. The upper lungs fill up afterward and when you exhale your chest deflates first and then your stomach. Practice this until you get the feel of it.
Exercise #2: Follow the same breathing pattern as I first described: On inhale expand the stomach first and then the chest; on exhale expand the chest first then the stomach. But this time instead of lying on your back you will be standing up, feet are placed a little bit farther than shoulder width apart and you bend down and let your hands hang down to the floor and do the same breathing exercise. Slowly inhale and exhale. You can breath with your nose or your mouth.
Exercise #3: With this exercise you will be breathing with your nose only. You can be standing or sitting. Blow out all your air and start inhaling through the nose slowly. If you are breathing properly you will fill up your lungs from the bottom up (stomach expands all the way followed by the chest). Once you are all the way full of air hold it for a 4-30 seconds and then slowly blow out your air deflating the upper part first followed by the stomach. Continue to do this trying to do it more and more slowly and trying to hold your breath longer and longer between inhale and exhale.
So what are the benefits?
By breathing deeply you help calm yourself and get rid of your anxieties and stresses. It is a great way to have more energy and wake yourself up. The increased oxygen that is sent to the lungs causes better blood quality, improved digestion, toxin elimination, burned fat, etc.
Another way to improve your breathing is by doing yoga. There are quite a few yoga breathing exercises and as you stretch and improve muscle strength and flexibility you also improve your lung capacty.
Here are some more exercises for you:
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Another awesome exercise I learned from Kundalini Yoga was alternate Nostril Breathing. This exercise helps energize you and help you to think more clearly. Start by inhaling with your left nostril. Breath in as slowly as you can while blocking the right nostril with your thumb on your right hand. Once you have completed the inhale, cover up the left nostril with your index finger on your right hand while releasing the thumb. Exhale out the right nostril as slow as you can then once the exhale is complete continue the same pattern by breathing in with your left nostril, etc. After a few minutes switch it up and breath in through your right nostril and exhale through the left for a couple minutes.
Breath of Fire
I learned this from a Kundalini Yoga video. It can be done in different positions (cross-legged, standing, etc). With this exercise you use only the lower part of your lungs. Release all your air. You breath quickly and fill up with air expanding only the abdominal part of your lungs. You do this as fast as you can and you keep your chest and rest of your body relaxed. As soon you are finished with the inhale exhale it out as fast as you can and continue (expanding and deflating only the abdominal region). Continue for about 3-5 minutes. This exercise is said to cleanse your blood and charge your nervous system. To learn more go to the following address: www.kundaliniyoga.org/pranayam.html.