Breathing is a fundamental physiological process for our life. We breathe thousands of times a day, supplying our cells with oxygen and expelling wastes in the form of carbon dioxide.
But despite its importance, we have this fully automated process. We breathe without realizing it, and always lucky because we couldn’t be on the lookout for this 24 hour process.
However, by being aware for a few moments of our breathing, we can greatly improve our emotional health and, in order to achieve this, here are some techniques and exercises of conscious breathing.
10 Recommended Mindful Breathing Exercises and Techniques
Every day, we breathe an average of 20,000 times. Breathing is an automatic physiological process that begins at birth and is not interrupted until the last breath of our life. It is fundamental to our existence, which is why we never stop breathing. This process nourishes the cells of the body with oxygen and causes us to expel the leftovers in the form of carbon dioxide.
We inhale and exhale constantly, a physiological process which, although fundamental in our life and we do not stop for a single moment to do it, most of the time we are not aware of it. Or maybe you explained how many times you have breathed since you started reading this article? Probably not, because it is a process that is maintained automatically. No need to think about it to do it.
Breathing well, consciously, not only allows us to continue living while maintaining our physiological functions. In addition to that, to breathe well, to make a conscious effort to improve it, we will not only recharge the cells of our body, but we will also recharge at all levels of our being, both physically and mentally. And for our luck, unlike the heartbeat, we can change our breathing easily, just keep going.
Although this is an automatic process, we can modify it, change the way we breathe for a moment, and experience health benefits.. It can even improve our conscious and correct respiratory mood for a few minutes a day. Breathing well can be magical and for this reason we will see about 10 techniques and exercises of conscious breathing.
1. Deep breathing
It is one of the simplest breathing techniques, ideal to apply anytime, anywhere. Its function is to reassure us when we are stressed, even if we can use it undisturbed. The point is, it serves to induce a calm and relaxed state of mind.
It consists of taking air through the nose for about 4 seconds. We keep it in our lungs while we count to 4 mentally and very calmly. After this time, we proceed to release the air quietly for another 4 seconds. We repeat as many times as necessary, although we recommend around 5 or 6.
2. Full breathing
In this exercise, abdominal breathing is applied, which is deep.
We first expel all the air from the lungs, making them very empty. Then we will breathe in gently and deeply, in order to fill the abdomen as much as possible, followed by the lungs and thorax. Hold the air for about 4 seconds and slowly expel, noticing how the chest empties first. then the abdomen.
3. Wim Hof breathing technique
It is a technique that has gained notoriety on blogs and pages specializing in conscious breathing. It is attributed to the extreme Dutch athlete Wim Hof or “Iceman”, known around the world for his ability to tolerate freezing temperatures.. This technique combines breathing and meditation.
The first thing we need to do is just lie down. In a horizontal position, we will do a series of 30 or 40 deep breaths, retaining as much air as possible for as long as possible before releasing it. We inhale as much as possible, fill our lungs as much as possible and as much as we notice. We hold for about 12 seconds and then eject as slowly as possible.
This technique is not considered suitable for pregnant women, people with hypertension or epilepsy because of its complexity and risks. It carries some risk of discoloration because it holds air for so long, this is why it is recommended to do it safely, while sitting or lying down.
4. Oxygenation of all cells
This is another technique proposed by Wim Hof. According to its supporters, the practice of this conscious breathing exercise serves to cleanse the body of accumulated carbon dioxide and oxygenate the entire nervous system. However, it has the disadvantage of a case of hyperventilation can occur due to the fact that a lot of oxygen can be introduced, more than what the body is used to.
We sit with our backs straight and as comfortable as possible, preferably on an empty stomach or after getting up in the morning. We’re going to inhale the air through our nose and expel it through the mouth in short but intense bursts, as if we were blowing a balloon or wanting to knock down a house of cards with a powerful blow.
In this first phase, we will do these steps about 30 times with our eyes closed. It is very important to be careful, because it may happen that due to hyperventilation, we feel a slight dizziness.
Then we move on to the next phase. It consists first of inhaling and filling the lungs as much as possible, but without forcing. Then we will let the air come out and we will hold out as long as possible without being uncomfortable. Then we will reintroduce all the air we can and, feeling the expansion of our chest, we will hold our breath for about 10 seconds.
With all this, we have completed an entire cycle, which we can repeat about three or four times starting again with the 30-time round in which we imagine inflating a balloon and completing the phase in which we maintain the air for about 10 seconds. After completing the exercise, we will breathe normally again, calmly and quietly.
5. Breathe for maximum relaxation
We will breathe through the nose and expel the air through the mouth. At the end of the exhalation we will pause, patiently waiting for the body to start the next inhalation..
Each breath through the nose will be slow and calm. Reaching the maximum inspiration point, we will slowly release the air through the open mouth, then, without closing our mouth and with the jaw relaxed, we will pause. We will consciously wait until we notice the body asking us to breathe again.
After two or three breaths, we will take the necessary time between one breath and the other to feel how relaxation conquers our whole body. Then we will breathe thinking about a specific area of our body that we consider to be very tense, breathing at the same rate as throughout the exercise and as many times as necessary until we notice how we get the relaxation.
6. Breathe for better sleep
This conscious breathing exercise it will help us control stress and therefore we will sleep better. We place the tip of the tongue on the palate, just behind the upper incisors. We will inhale through our nose for about 4 seconds, we will hold our breath for 6-8 seconds.
After these first two parts, we breathe out through our mouth, puckering our lips and making noise, breathing out, noticing how we release all our internal tension, for about 8 seconds. We will repeat the whole exercise four more times.
7. Breathe to focus the mind and eliminate tension
This exercise it is considered ideal to start practicing conscious breathing for the first time. Its purpose is to draw our attention only to the breathing, completely removing any tension or preoccupation that may be lurking in our minds from our approach.
We begin to breathe slowly, in the calmest way possible. We will take long, shallow breaths through the nose inward and outward. Waiting for, we will imagine that we have a tray of ash right in front of our face, ashes so light that at the slightest passing air they could fly away. That is why we will breathe in the most careful and gentle way possible.
With this exercise, we will calm the mind, silencing all the negative thoughts and worries that are in us. besieging. We will feel more peace if we keep our eyes closed. We will continue to take several more slow, long breaths, trying not to produce any agitation.
8. Mindful breathing with children
This is a mindful breathing exercise that we can do with children, as well as being highly recommended for people who tend to strain their voice or who tend to have sore throats and sore throats. hoarseness.
We start by inhaling and during this time bring our head back slightly. When we expel the air, we will bring the head forward, we will open our mouth as much as possible and we will withdraw the tongue downwards.. We will exhale making a noise, as if it were the breath of a lion that we are imitating, but without ringing the vocal cords. It is a matter of exaggerating an exaggeration, but not raising your voice.
9. Conscious yogic breathing
This exercise is the yogic version of the previous breath. Do the exact same thing, just sit on your calves or on a chair and place your hands on each knee, fingers spread. We will inhale and, exhaling, we will open our mouth to the maximum, sticking out our tongue as in the previous case, in addition to opening wide our eyes looking at the sky and stretching our fingers towards the ground.
10. Balance the mind
Another great breathing exercise to clear your mind, perfect for doing this before facing a cognitively demanding task like a peer review or selectivity.
We will cover one of the nostrils (nostrils) with our thumb and breathe slowly through the other side, counting to 8. We will hold the air for about 4 seconds and when we do, we will cover the nostril and breathe out to 8 through the hole that was previously plugged.
You can practice this exercise for a few minutes, constantly changing nostrils after each exhalation.. Since we just have to cover our noses, it can be done anytime and anywhere, without having to do any weird postures. Being able to do this can even be done by already taking the exam, calming ourselves down while we read the questions.