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Three Breathing Techniques for Heart and Brain Health

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Effective Breathing Can Achieve Tremendous Health Benefits

Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques all depend on breathing properly. Proper breathing is an important part of learning how to calm the mind and body. The importance of proper breathing is of equal importance to eating healthy food, exercising and reducing stress.

How you breathe can reduce stress levels in your body, as well as your heart rate and blood pressure. Learning different breathing techniques can help slow your body’s reaction to stress, burnout, and fatigue.

The different types of breathing techniques.

Mindful breathing: This involves becoming aware of your breath and focusing on it. It does not involve trying to change the way you breathe. However, the act of focusing on the breath usually slows down breathing patterns, making them more relaxed. As you focus on how air moves in and out through your lungs, mouth and nose it becomes a form of calming meditation.

Mantra breathing: This technique makes use of a mantra to help focus on your breath. A mantra is a phrase or word that you repeat to yourself to create focus. As you repeat it, you become able to relax and meditate.

Square breathing: This employs visualization to create focus. As you inhale, visualize one side of a square. Then, visualize the next side of the square as you exhale. Repeat the process until you have imagined each side of a square.

Nostril breathing: This technique can help to reduce agitation and anxiety. As you breathe you close off one nostril and take air in slowly through the other. Then switch, closing off the second nostril while breathing through the first. Slowly repeat the process until you begin to feel calmer.

Pranayama breathing1: This cleansing breath is used in the practice of yoga. Experts say that using pranayama has the power to clean 72,000 channels in the body. It involves inhaling deeply with the mouth closed, then exhaling through the nose. This type of breathing technique is thought to clean blood and clear your respiratory system. As a result, good clean oxygen travels to the heart and the brain.

Belly breath: This type of breathing is easy to practice, because you can feel your body taking in and exhaling air by the movement of your abdomen. Lie down on a bed or on the floor. Place one hand on your stomach and inhale slowly through the nose (notice the abdomen rising). As you exhale you contract the abdomen muscles and push the air out of your lungs.

These different breathing techniques can be used to promote a healthier heart and brain. Here are three exercises that are easy to practice and you can use anywhere at any time. Think about using these techniques today!

1. Start your day with morning breathing. This is a great exercise to relieve stiff muscles and clear your respiratory tract when you get up in the morning.

  • Stand up and bend forward from the waist. Keep the knees slightly bent. Let your arms dangle loosely to the floor.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply. Roll your body up slowly, lifting your abdomen, chest, and shoulders before your head. Do not stand up quickly with your head first.
  • Once you are in a full standing position, hold your breath.

As you begin to bend forward again, exhale slowly. Repeat this several times to loosen your body.

2. Renew your energy midday with the stimulating breathing technique. This exercise is used in yoga. It can increase your energy and help you to feel more alert.

  • Keep your mouth closed, then inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. Keep your breaths as short as possible. Don’t worry if you make a lot of noise.
  • Try to breath in and out in rapid succession three times in one second. This makes the diaphragm work hard. After each set of three breathe normally.
  • Be careful and do this exercise for only 15 seconds when you first begin. Then with practice, slowly increase the duration of the exercise by five seconds each time.

3. Relax at the end of the day with the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. This exercise is designed to relax and calm your body and mind.

  • Sit with your back straight.
  • Move the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, leaving your tongue behind your teeth.
  • As you count to four, close your mouth and then inhale softly.Then hold your breath while you count to seven.
  • Exhale through your mouth counting to eight.
  • These steps comprise one breath of 4-7-8.
  • Start over again by inhaling.
  • Repeat the steps three more times.

These breathing techniques can be used throughout the day to help you regulate stress levels and pump oxygen-rich nutrients into your heart and brain. They don’t require any special equipment and can be done anywhere. Now that you know various breathing techniques, use them to reduce anxiety and stress, increase energy and improve the health of your heart and your brain. For more information on how to manage caregiver stress, check out our top techniques for reducing and overcoming stress here.

Sources:
1: Pranayam Breathing exercise

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