10 conscious breathing techniques and exercises (with explanation)
Several conscious breathing exercises to breathe better and learn to relax.
Breathing is a physiological process fundamental to our life. We breathe thousands of times every day, feeding our cells with oxygen and expelling waste in the form of carbon dioxide.
But despite its importance, this process is totally automated. We breathe without realizing it, and thank goodness, because we could not be aware of this process 24 hours a day.
However, by becoming aware of how we breathe for a few moments we can greatly improve our emotional health and, to achieve this, here are a few breathing techniques and exercises, Here are a few techniques and exercises of conscious breathing..
10 recommended mindful breathing exercises and techniques
Every day we breathe an average of 20,000 times. Breathing is an automatic physiological process that begins at birth and is not interrupted until the last breath of our lives. It is fundamental to our existence, which is why we never stop breathing. This process nourishes the body's cells with oxygen and causes us to expel the remains in the form of carbon dioxide.
We breathe in and out constantly, a physiological process that is fundamental to our life and we do not stop for a single moment, and most of the time we are not even aware of it. Or have you counted how many times you have breathed since you started reading this article? Probably not, since it is a process that is maintained automatically. You don't need to think to do it.
Breathing well, in a conscious way, not only allows us to continue living while maintaining our physiological functions, but also to breathe in a conscious way.. In addition to this, if we do our breathing well, if we make a conscious effort to improve it, we will not only recharge the cells of our organism, but we will also recharge all levels of our being, both physical and mental. And fortunately for us, unlike the heartbeat, we can modify the breath easily, we just have to put ourselves to it.
Although it is an automatic process, we can modify it, change the way we breathe for a moment and enjoy the benefits for our health.. It can even improve our mood by breathing consciously and correctly for a few minutes a day. Breathing well can be magical and for this reason we are going to see some 10 techniques and exercises of conscious breathing.
1. Deep breathing
This is one of the simplest breathing techniques, ideal to apply anytime, anywhere. Its function is to calm us down when we are stressed, although we can use it without being upset. The point is that it serves to induce a calm and relaxed state of mind.
It consists of taking air through the nose for about 4 seconds. We keep it in our lungs while we count to 4 mentally and very calmly. After that time, we proceed to release the air calmly for another 4 seconds. Repeat as many times as necessary, although we recommend 5 or 6 times.
2. Complete breathing
In this exercise we apply the abdominal breathingwhich is deep.
First we expel all the air from the lungs, making them empty. Then, we proceed to breathe in softly and deeply, in order to fill the abdomen as much as possible, followed by the lungs and chest. We keep the air for about 4 seconds and expel it slowly, noticing how the thorax is emptied first. and then the abdomen.
3. Wim Hof breathing technique
This is a technique that has achieved certain fame in blogs and pages specialized in conscious breathing. It is attributed to the Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof or "Iceman", known worldwide for his ability to tolerate freezing temperatures.. This technique combines breathing with meditation.
The first thing to do is simply to lie down. In a horizontal position we will perform a series of 30 or 40 deep breaths, holding the air as long as we can before releasing it. We breathe in as much as we can, filling our lungs as much as we can and as much as we feel.. We hold for about 12 seconds and then expel as slowly as possible.
This technique is not considered suitable for pregnant women, people with hypertension or epilepsy due to its complexity and risks. There is a certain risk of fainting when holding the air for such a long time.For this reason, it is recommended to perform it safely, while sitting or lying down.
4. Oxygenating all cells
This is another technique proposed by Wim Hof. According to its proponents, the practice of this conscious breathing exercise serves to cleanse the body of accumulated carbon dioxide and oxygenate the entire nervous system. However, it brings with it the disadvantage that a case of hyperventilation can occur due to the fact that a lot of oxygen can be introduced, more than the body is accustomed to.more than the organism is used to.
We will sit with our back straight and as comfortably as possible, preferably on an empty stomach or after getting up in the morning. We will inhale the air through the nose and expel it through the mouth in short but intense bursts, as if we were inflating a balloon or wanting to knock down a house of cards with a strong blow.
In this first phase we will do these steps about 30 times with our eyes closed.. It is very important to be careful, since it may happen that due to hyperventilation we feel a slight dizziness.
Then we move on to the next phase. It consists of, first, inhale and fill the lungs as much as we can, but without forcing. Then, we will let the air out and hold it as long as we can without feeling uncomfortable. Afterwards, we will introduce as much air as possible again and, feeling the expansion of our chest, we will hold our breath for about 10 seconds.
With all this we have completed an entire cycle, which we can repeat three or four more times starting again with the 30 times in which we imagine that we inflate a balloon and ending with the phase in which we hold the air for about 10 seconds. we imagine that we inflate a balloon and finishing with the phase in which we hold the air for about 10 seconds.. After finishing the exercise, we will return to normal breathing, calmly and quietly.
5. Breath of maximum relaxation
Breathe through the nose and expel the air through the mouth. At the end of the exhalation, we will pause, patiently waiting for the body to begin the next inhalation..
Each breath through the nose will be slow and calm. When we reach the maximum point of inhalation we will slowly release the air through the open mouth and then, still without closing the mouth and with the jaw relaxed, we will pause. We will consciously wait until we notice that the body asks us to breathe again.
After two or three breaths we will take the necessary time between one breath and another to feel how relaxation conquers our whole body. Then, we will breathe thinking about a specific area of our body that we consider still with a lot of tension, breathing at the same rhythm as throughout the exercise and as many times as necessary until we notice how we reach relaxation.
6. Breathing to sleep better
This exercise of conscious breathing will help us to control stress and, consequently, we will sleep better.. We place the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, just behind the upper incisors. Inhale through the nose for about 4 seconds, hold your breath for 6 to 8 seconds.
Once these first two parts have passed, exhale through the mouth pursing the lips and making noise, blowing, noticing how we release all our internal tension, for about 8 seconds.. We will repeat the whole exercise about four more times.
7. Breathing to center the mind and eliminate tensions
This exercise is considered ideal to start practicing conscious breathing for the first time.. Its objective is to get our attention to focus only on the breath, completely removing from our focus any tension or worry that may be going through our mind.
We begin by breathing gently, as calmly as possible. We will take long, shallow breaths in and out through the nose. In the meantime, we will imagine that we have a tray of ashes right in front of our face.The ashes are so light that at the slightest passing air they could fly away. That is why we are going to breathe as gently and softly as possible.
With this exercise we will get the mind to calm down, silencing any negative thoughts and worries that are haunting us. We will feel more peace if we keep our eyes closed. We will continue doing several more long, slow breaths, trying not to produce the slightest agitation.
8. Conscious breathing with children
This is a conscious breathing exercise that we can do with children, besides being highly recommended for those people who tend to force their voice or who tend to have sore throats and hoarseness.
We start inhaling and, meanwhile, we throw our head slightly backwards. When we expel the air we will bring the head forward, we will open the mouth as much as possible and we will bring the tongue downwards.. The exhalation we will do it making noise, as if it was the breath of a lion what we are imitating, but without making sound the vocal cords. The idea is to exhale in an exaggerated manner, but without raising your voice.
9. Yogic conscious breathing
This exercise is the yogic version of the previous breathing.. It is done exactly the same, only that we sit on our calves or on a chair and place our hands on each knee, with our fingers apart. We will inhale and, when we exhale, we will open our mouth to the maximum, sticking out our tongue as in the previous case, as well as opening our eyes wide looking towards the sky and stretching our fingers towards the floor.
10. Balancing the mind
Another ideal breathing exercise to clear the mind, perfect to do before we have to face a cognitively very demanding task, such as a university exam. as it can be an exam of the university or the selectivity.
We will cover with the thumb one of the nostrils (nostrils) and breathe slowly on the other side, counting to 8. We will hold our breath for about 4 seconds and, when we have done so, we will plug the other nostril and exhale up to 8 through the hole that was previously plugged.
This exercise can be practiced for a few minutes, constantly changing nostrils after each exhalation.. As we simply have to plug our noses, it can be done at any time and place, without the need to do strange postures. It can be done even when we are already taking the exam, calming down while we read the questions.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)