Do you breathe right? What kind of question is that anyway? What do I mean by ‘right’? Most of us are in a constant state of hyperventilation because we just aren’t breathing right. We take short shallow breaths and we’re totally unaware. It isn’t until you hear someone say ‘breathe’ or ‘take a deep breath’ that we do and realize that we had been restraining our breath before.
I don’t have to tell you that breath is very important to our wellbeing. Without oxygen we die. Our brain and nervous system breathe for us without us even having to think about it, thankfully, even when we sleep our body keeps breathing.
So why are most of us breathing wrong? Since we live in the technology age we are constantly on the go, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally we’re going, doing, or thinking about a million different things. This constant go go go creates a sense of stress for our bodies. The shoulders come up to the ears, our brow furrows, we clench our jaw, and slump in our seats. All of that body language is shutting off our full lung capacity…closing in chest cavity and making it harder to breathe right.
To breathe right you need to sit up tall, creating more space in the lungs, drop the shoulders, and take a full deep breath through the nose for a count of 4 or 5. As you inhale, place your hand on your belly and it should expand like a balloon filling with air. Hold the breath for 2 or 3 counts then exhale for 4 or 5 counts. As you exhale your hand on your belly should start to press back toward your spine as you diaphragm contracts. At the end of the exhale hold your breath for 2 to 3 counts then repeat.
In my head or when I coach clients this is what it sounds like: “Inhale, two, three, four, five, Hold, two, three, Exhale, two, three, four, five, Hold, two, three.” Then repeat that cycle for 7 to 10 times. Do this once when you wake up in the morning and again right before bed. You can even alter the breath count to help you wake up and go to sleep. Simply inhale for longer than the exhale to wake up or exhale longer than the inhale to go to sleep.
Morning: Inhale…two…three…four…five…six…Hold…two…three…Exhale…two…three…four. You can also use this to help alleviate that mid-day slump or get lots of oxygen to your brain to help you solve a tough problem or feel more creative.
Evening: Inhale…two…three…four…Hold…two…three…Exhale…two…three…four…five…six. You can also use this to help alleviate stress and calm yourself. I use it on my kiddos when they’re in tantrum mode and it helps defuse the situation and switch the focus to something other than what they’re throwing tantrum for in the first place.
As always…listen to your body. If at anytime you feel dizzy or lightheaded stop and allow your breath to return to normal. If you have any questions about how to breathe right, or how it has helped you please comment below, we all learn from other peoples stories and questions.
May your breath be with you!
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