A simple breath of fresh air is vital to our bodies, but many don’t know that the way we breathe can have a big impact on the quality of each breath we take. That’s why paying close attention to some breathing techniques can be beneficial and relaxing.
Another aspect of breathing that many people may not know about is that breathing through our noses is actually more beneficial than breathing through the mouth. Breathing properly through your nose and out through your mouth is also a great way to relax your mind and your body.
So, turn down the lights, find a comfortable spot, and try one of these well-known breathing techniques to help you unwind and relax your mind, body, and spirit.
Helpful Breathing Techniques to Try
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
If you're having a hard time going to sleep, suffer from anxiety, or find yourself stressed out, you may benefit from a breathing pattern developed by Dr. Andrew Weil called the 4-7-8 breathing technique that increases the depth of your breath.
You can practice this technique while sitting or lying down, which is advisable if you’ve never done it before as you may feel lightheaded during the first few times. You can prepare for this practice by resting the top of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth. In order to do this technique efficiently, you’ll need to keep your tongue in place throughout the exercise. Please be patient as it takes practice to keep from moving your tongue when you exhale.
- Step 1: Start with your lips slightly apart.
- Step 2: Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth
- Step 3: Close your lips together as you silently inhale through the nose for a count of 4 seconds
- Step 4: Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Step 5: Exhale through your mouth making a "whoosh" sound, for 8 seconds. Be sure to expel all the air in your lungs. Then, repeat Step 1 through Step 5
It should be noted that the total number of seconds that the pattern lasts is less important than the ratio. A person who cannot hold their breath for too long may try a shorter pattern instead, such as:
- Breathe in through your nose for 2 seconds
- Hold your breath for a count of 3.5 seconds
- Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds
As long as you maintain the correct ratio, you’ll notice benefits after several days or weeks consistently performing the exercise one to two times a day.
Pain-Relieving Breathing Technique
We all tend to tense up with pain but, by learning to relax our bodies through routine breathing exercises, you may discover you can naturally reduce your level of pain.
- Step 1: Set aside 5-10 minutes to "lie down or recline, making yourself as comfortable as possible and free from distractions
- Step 2: Pay attention to your body and relax your muscles
- Step 3: Inhale through your nose for 4 or 5 seconds. Focus breathing from the gut, filling your belly with each inhale
- Step 4: Exhale for 4 or 5 seconds, completely emptying your lungs
- Step 5: Once you have the pattern down, you're ready to be mindful of your breath to begin relaxation
- Step 6: Pay attention to your body as you breathe. Discover which areas are relaxing and which need more attention. Then, repeat the process
Mooring Park Communities offers exceptional retirement living with numerous life-enriching amenities and programs to help you relax your mind, body and spirit while enjoying a fulfilling retirement life. Contact us today to schedule a tour or speak with a member of our team.