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Breathing exercises

breathing exercises
Breathing is fundamental to life. It’s the first thing we do when we are born into this world. And it’s also the last when our time comes. This simple fact should prompt reflection from us all. In essence, the challenge lies in our tendency to forget proper breathing due to the pressures of daily life. A stark contrast emerges when comparing our breathing to that of small children; while we often breathe only with our chest, children naturally engage their abdominal region.
"Just" redirecting our breath to the abdominal part is easier said than done for many, given the strength of habit.
To begin, pay attention to where the air enters and where it reaches first. In numerous stressed individuals (and consequently poor breathers), the air tends to accelerate, hitting just below the clavicle or in the middle of the sternum, leading to chest pain. The cause is often banal-narrowed nostrils (if breathing through the nose) or a constricted throat (if breathing through the mouth). The consequences are far-reaching, affecting sleep, relaxation, inducing tension, fatigue, and more. While other factors can also contribute, breathing stands out as one of the most prevalent issues, so I’ll be focusing on this part.
So, how to breathe correctly? Through practice!
Lie on your back, placing your hand on your stomach with your thumb at the belly button and palm just below. While inhalation can be intentional, exhalation should be natural and relaxed. Breathe in, allowing your stomach to rise without engaging the chest. Exhale naturally (without any force) and, at the end of the exhale, pause for a second, or two, or three... (see rule 3), then begin the cycle anew. This practice yields tangible benefits such as improved sleep, reduced fatigue, and more. Initially, you might feel a bit "intoxicated", a sign that your body is adjusting to a newfound abundance of oxygen, fostering relaxation - a crucial step towards balance and self-healing.
This type of abdominal breathing acts as a perpetuum mobile for our bodies. It massages internal organs, enhances blood circulation and substance exchange, ultimately lowering energy consumption for maintenance. It cleanses the lungs, utilising the lower 1/3 that is often neglected and may harbour various viruses and bacteria. This method also reduces the energy demand for breathing and the associated stress, offering a solution to the challenge posed by the higher part of the lungs (which provides less oxidation and creates more stress).
Therefore, breathe using your stomach, the lower part of your lungs. A study in China demonstrated a 30% increase in lung air volume after three months of practising these exercises.