Use these tips to help you breathe better.
Breathe through your nose
Your nose warms, moistens and filters the air you breathe in, helping to protect your lungs.
In addition, when you breathe through your nose as opposed to your mouth, your breath passes over the nerve that regulates rhythmic breathing, helping you to control and slow down your breath, aiding relaxation.
Don’t hold your breath
You might notice that you stop breathing when you’re stressed or concentrating. If you catch yourself holding your breath, consciously relax your face, shoulders, jaw and tummy – then take a few deep breaths to get your breathing back into a natural rhythm.
Even with the best intentions to maintain good posture, sitting on a chair tends to collapse the spine into a compressed letter ‘C’, which makes it difficult to breathe deeply. In addition, tense muscles will restrict the space available for your lungs to expand. Throughout the day, pause regularly to stretch up tall with your arms overhead. This will reset your posture and encourage deep breathing.
Let it all hang out
If you pull in your tummy or wear tight belts or clothing, then you can’t use your diaphragm effectively. This can increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
A flexible, strong diaphragm will naturally support your spine – and improve your balance.
Your diaphragm pulls down flat as you inhale, increasing the pressure in your abdomen and ‘massaging’ the abdominal organs with each breath.
Focus on your breathing for 1 minute. What do you notice?
Place your hand on your stomach and notice if it moves as you breathe in and out. If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
When a minute has passed, take a moment to stretch before carrying on with your day.
Learn more about how to breathe better by taking CABA’s yoga for busy people short course, or follow the yoga video at our Your health matters website.