This is a subject very dear to my heart. Having made a few lifestyle changes and seen a dramatic improvement in my own health I have to saying finding exercises for breathing was one of the best things I’ve done. When Nicole sent me this article I wanted to try and make sure as many people found it as possible as I truly believe with the right exercises breathing patterns can be changed making tremendous differences to many health issues.
A Breathe of Fresh Air
Most of us have poor breathing habits – no wonder we feel tired & anxious!
Writes Nicole Stone Yoga Teacher from Yoga Breaks in Spain
Breathing like swallowing is an unconscious action; something we do without thinking. It s not until we have something like a heavy cold that we actually notice that we re struggling to cope with simple tasks like climbing the stairs.
The lungs are capable of holding 5 litres of breath but most of us only breathe in the upper chest otherwise known as shallow breathing. Shallow breathing means that we are not getting adequate oxygen intake nor are we fully exhaling carbon dioxide (CO2) – a waste gas generated within the body that needs to expelled.
High levels of CO2 can deplete the body of energy; you feel tired lethargic and anxious and yet a few minutes of yoga breathing instantly restores the body s natural state of well being making us feel more energised calm and clear of mind.
Could you improve your breathing?
The following are signs of in-efficient breathing your body could do with a higher intake of oxygen to ensure it functions at its optimum. Sit comfortably & let your body establish a regular breathing pattern then analyse how you “normally” breathe:
1. Upper-Chest Breathing. Begin by placing one hand on your upper chest and the other on your abdomen. Breathe normally for at least 30 seconds. If the hand on your chest moves as you breathe but the one on the abdomen does not you’re definitely a upper chest breather a sign that you could be breathing inefficiently.
2. Shallow Breathing. Place your hands lightly – around your lower ribs & breathe normally for at least 30 seconds. You should feel an effortless expansion of the lower ribs on the breath in and a slow recoil of the ribs on the out breath. If your ribs remain motionless your breathing is too shallow even if your belly moves.
3. Over-breathing – count the length of your exhalation and compare it to the length of the inhalation. The exhalation should be slightly longer. If your inhalation is longer it is likely you are not exhaling sufficient levels of CO2. If your exhalation is longer it is likely you are not inhaling sufficient levels of oxygen.
As a second test try to shorten your inhalation. If that causes distress you are probably an overbreather. Because it is easy to manipulate the outcome of these two tests you may want someone else to count for you at a time when you are not paying attention to your breath.
4. Breath Holding
holding the breath after inhaling may be the most common poor breathing habit. A breath-holder usually feels a “catch” at the end of the inhalation. This is particularly noticeable during exercise. You can change this by consciously relaxing your abdomen just as an inhalation ends.
Yoga teaches you how to breathe correctly again
A yoga teacher has been taught how to instruct something called Pranayama breathing exercises. A good teacher will teach you how to breathe correctly and incorporate the breath as you move in and out of simple poses. It won t be long before you feel the flow of oxygen move through your body generating a fantastic feeling of internal energy and strength.
When you breathe correctly it s almost as if a light has been switched on inside your body – you ve found the the secret of vitality!
Nicole Stone Yoga Classes Calpe & Moraira tel. 620 147 089