Breathing has often been used as a metaphor for living and being alive, but did you know that many people don’t know how to breathe properly?
Improper breathing can actually lead to a number of problems in your body. Here are the steps you need to breathe properly to keep your body functioning at its best.
Are You Breathing Properly?
Find out if you are breathing properly by following these steps:
Go into a position where your back will be completely straight, such as lying down flat on your back, standing up straight or sitting up straight.
Place the palms of your hands on your abdomen, just below your ribs.
Breathe as you normally do.
Take note if the hand on your abdomen rises or whether it’s your upper chest are that rises. If your abdomen rises while your chest is flat, that means you are breathing properly. If it’s your chest that rises while your abdomen barely moves at all, that means you are breathing improperly, and need to practice the correct way of breathing.
Proper Breathing Exercises
If you find out that you’re not breathing properly, don’t worry; you can still correct it. With daily exercises and a conscious effort, your body will be able to adapt and get used to correct breathing. Here’s what you should do:
Lie down flat your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor. You can also do this while sitting or standing up straight, too.
Place your hands on your abdomen, again just below your ribs, palms flat against your stomach.
Breathe slowly and gradually through your nose, counting up to five. Imagine you are inflating a balloon in your stomach while you are inhaling. Your hands should rise with your abdomen as you breathe in. Make sure that your shoulders do not rise up while you are inhaling.
Hold your breath for a few seconds, but don’t prolong it.
Exhale as slowly and gradually as you have inhaled, counting to five. Imagine the inflated balloon in your stomach slowly deflating while you are exhaling. Your hands should also go down as your abdomen deflates.
You should practice proper breathing for around five minutes at a time, two or three times a day. You can do it the first thing in the morning, while taking a break from work, and before you go to sleep. Exercises such as running, yoga and meditation also have methods of teaching you how to breathe correctly. Having a proper breathing method may seem like a small thing, but it will make a great change in your lifestyle in the long run.