Breathing is life, literally and figuratively. If we do not breathe, we lose oxygen, and then we die. Breathing is a fundamental part of our lives, just as how we need to eat and drink to keep ourselves alive and kicking. However, we usually do not give it much of a thought.
A lot of people do not realize how important proper breathing is. For example, you will learn how to breathe properly when doing yoga or long-distance running. Speaking of yoga, you can learn more about it when you visit a yoga meditation retreat center. Aside from proper breathing techniques, you will also learn different yoga poses that can improve your flexibility and loosen up your muscles.
Types of breathing
There are two types of breathing patterns: diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing, and thoracic or chest breathing. On one hand, we tend to breathe through our abdomen when we sleep or basically when we feel relaxed. Meanwhile, we tend to breathe through our chest during or after intense physical activity. This is due to the increase in heart rate, muscle tension, or even dizziness.
In many cases, babies and some adults breathe through their chests. Aside from physical activities, chest breathing can also be a result of anxiety attacks, which can cause breathing difficulties. You should feel relaxed when breathing instead of causing distress.
To know your breathing pattern, place one hand on your upper abdomen and the other on your chest. You will know if you are breathing correctly if your stomach expands more than your chest. Knowing the right breathing techniques can also help, especially if you are feeling anxious and stressed.
Benefits of proper breathing
For one thing, diaphragmatic breathing helps in strengthening your diaphragm. Proper breathing is also essential when during strenuous activities such as long-distance running. It helps you feel more relaxed and manage your breathing when running or doing intense physical activities.
Aside from that, proper breathing can help in reducing blood pressure levels. Likewise, it can regulate your bodily functions and make you feel better than before. Here are the other benefits of proper breathing.
- Lessens the risk of injuries or muscle pains
- Improves your tolerance in intense physical activities
- Helps in coping with stress and anxiety
- Lowers your heart rate, hence making you feel more relaxed
- Makes you healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally
How to breathe properly
Breathing correctly will help you feel more comfortable and calm. You can try this breathing exercise to make you feel better.
- Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose and making sure that your abdomen rises more than your chest.
- While doing this exercise, make sure to relax your shoulders and your body as well.
- Slowly, exhale through the mouth. Relax your jaw and open your mouth slightly as you exhale. Repeat this simple breathing exercise for a few minutes.
- You can do this while seated or while lying down, whichever works for you.
We should not take breathing for granted. Aside from giving us life, it can significantly affect our well-being. But if you are experiencing breathing difficulties that are beyond the usual, it is best to consult a doctor immediately.