Here are some tips for good breathing practices.
Breathe in and out through the nose
The nose warms, moistens and helps sterilize the air
Mouth is closed with the tongue on the roof of the mouth, teeth apart and the face is relaxed
Breathe up from the toes
When inhaling you want to have your belly expand
Breathe in to a count of four and out to a count of six
Pause at the end of expiration, but don’t hold your breath
Release all the muscle tension, but maintain neutral spine
Let the breath just go on its own – you don’t have to force expiration!
Think “aaah” while exhaling
Breathing should be done quietly – this helps overcome the tendency to take too big of a breath
When you get into a situation where your symptoms flare up or you’re feeling stressed, stop and do a self-check by placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Where is your breathing coming from? Adjust your posture so that your diaphragm is able to extend when you breathe in. Relax your shoulders and follow the tips above. Remember what it feels like to breathe normally and try to take yourself there.
Just like anything else, practice makes perfect! Practice your breathing morning and evening in less stressful situations and use those techniques throughout the day when you catch yourself breathing poorly.
Exercises for Good Breathing Practices
Lie on your back with a pillow under your knees. Bring your arms behind your head, just like you were relaxing on the beach. Place a small weight, like a wheat bag, on your tummy. Breathe in through your nose and feel your belly rise under the weight. Exhale through your nose without effort - that is, let the air fall out rather than push the air out.
Lie on your stomach, head supported on your hands. Feel your stomach in contact with the ground. Breathe in gently through your nose and feel your body expand as your breath pushes your stomach into the ground. The exhale should feel as if you are simply deflating, the weight of your body squeezing the air out.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jessica DeMars, Respiratory Physiotherapist BSc.P.T, MSc