Child Breathing Exercises
Health

Breathwork Exercises

Breathwork exercise are a type of holistic therapy that can reduce high levels of stress and anxiety, improve respiration, increase energy levels and even boost the immune system. Breathing techniques have long been known to provide certain medical benefits. Many ancient cultures utilized these exercises to improve mental and physical well-being, and the effectiveness of this holistic therapy has carried the practice through to modern day.

Types of Breathing Exercises

Many different types of breathing techniques have been developed by ancient cultures all over the world, some of the techniques (but far from all) that remain popular to this day include:

Shamanic breathing techniques from South America
– Conscious Connected Breathwork: involved laying on your back and performing active breathing through the nose and mouth.
– Holotropic breathwork: a technique that requires guidance during the exercise, which involves breathing rapidly for extended periods of time.

Yogic breathing techniques from India
– Pranayama: an ancient breath technique that includes a variety of exercises to control respiration.
– Ayurvedic tradition: an early type of pranayama (breathing technique) in which breathing is alternated between the right and left nostrils.

Qigong breathing exercises from China
– Many qigong exercises also require controlled breathing. This typically involves inhaling slowly through the nose then equally as slow through the mouth.

The Buteyko method from Soviet Union
– The Buteyko method was developed by Ukrainian psychologist, Konstantin Buteyko, in 1950. His exercises aimed to reduce over-breathing, otherwise known as chronic hyperventilation.

It’s really quite easy to teach yourself how to do breathwork, the hardest part for most will be sticking to the routine. Fortunately, the benefits gained from performing such easy straightforward exercises should be more than enough to satisfy the want to continue. Those in a position to sign up for classes, or even employ a private instructor, are likely to see benefits a little quicker, however, most of these breathing exercises are straightforward, and should be easily performed with guidance from online tutorials, both in text or video format.

If you’re interested in starting to learn breathing techniques from the comfort of your own home, then here are 7 exercises you can perform daily to get a taste of how breathing exercises can improve your overall physical and mental health.

Breathing Exercises

7 Simple Effective Breathing Techniques

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing; also known as abdominal or belly breathing, this simple exercise is typically the first taught in lessons, and is a great place to start for beginners. It can help reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, boost metabolism and relax the body and mind.

To do this focus on the movement of air as you breath: inhale deeply through your nose for five seconds, then slowly exhale slowly through your nose for another five seconds.

Three-Part Breathing

Three-Part Breathing: also known as Dirga Pranayama, this is another technique that is perfect for beginners. It builds upon the diaphragmatic breathing exercise, and is said to be one of the most calming breathing techniques around.

To perform this technique you must first fill your lungs with air, then continue inhaling slowly as the air fills the belly, ribcage, then the upper chest. Once you reach the maximum point of inhalation, you reverse the process on an equally long exhale. During this process you should focus all your attention on how the air is flowing through the upper body.

The three-part technique can help clear the mind by focusing all attention on respiration. It is also believed the technique may relieve chronic stress and even prevent panic attacks with the regular practice.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing: also referred to as the Ayurvedic breathing technique this involves holding one nostril close whilst breathing slow. 

This can help reduce anxiety, relax the mind and restore balance. It is best performed in the morning, where it works as a preventative solution to keep the days stresses at bay.

Breath Meditation

Breath Meditation: although this exercise may sound simple, it can actually be extremely difficult to block out all distractions from the mind. However, once you’ve mastered the art of truly freeing the mind from all thoughts, breath meditation has the ability to lower heart rate, blood pressure and ease fatigue.

Another exercise best done in the morning, this relaxing breathing technique can refresh the mind and body in preparation for the day ahead.

Ocean Sounding Breath

Ocean Sounding Breath: known traditionally as Ujayi Pranayama, this technique utilizes sound to manipulate breathing. To do this you must constrict the back of the throat in order to create a noise that sounds like the ocean, or some might say like Darth Vader. This is done without straining the voice box, and naturally slows down breath, which in turn calms the nervous system and relaxes the mind.

Ujjayi breathing is said to release feelings of frustration and irritation. It can also boosts our sense of presence and self-awareness.

Chanting Breath

Chanting Breath: also known as Udgeeth Pranayama, chanting breathing is another, simple yet effective, breathing technique that uses sound to aid relaxation. During this exercise you chant the classic ‘Om’ mantra whislt performing slow, deep belly breaths.

Chanting Breath can help strengthen concentration and mental focus, it also reduces negative thoughts and promotes positive emotions.

Active Yoga Breathing

Active Yoga Breathing: this exercise couples light exercise with long controlled breathes. To do this take long deep breaths through the nose as you walk at a moderate pace. Try to take ten steps for each inhale and exhale, then aim to slowly extend your inhalations and exhalations, as well as the number of paces, as you walk.

Active Yoga Breathing helps to sharpen focus and memory; it also increases circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system.

Find a quiet space, free from distraction, where you can pay attention to your breathing. Don’t be ashamed to have notes, handwritten or on a phone or tablet, with you; remembering a series of exercise might not be the easiest thing, especially first thing in the morning, so why not make it as easy as possible.

Choosing the Right Breathing Exercises

There are so many breathing techniques available that it would be inefficient to list them all here. Fortunately, no technique will work for everyone; instead, you, or someone with more experience, can select the best methods for you.

Exercises should be between 2-5 minutes long; you may increase the duration as you get more comfortable.

It’s advised to start your session with a round of diaphragmatic breathing, followed by one or more other techniques. While all these exercises are not all that strenuous, it’s important to start light and only increase duration and intensity as your stamina increases. It is possible to hyperventilate should you not properly control your breathing, so be sure to perform these exercises with caution and cease doing so immediately should you feel light-headed or dizzy.