Breathing is absolutely essential to life, but it's often overlooked as a necessity for good health. Joseph Pilates said that, breathing is the first act and the last act of life. Breathing defines our life and supports us in body and spirit.
By learning conscious breathing and practicing certain breathing techniques, you can literally change your life! isn't it good to know that he secret of optimum health and peak performance is right under your nose? It is surprising that the simplest thing in life are often the most powerful.
Guided Conscious Breathing (relaxation) sessions:
At Ikigai Studio I present these sessions to assist in the process of conscious breathing. I know often, it's so much easier when you have a coach that guides you in the process. You will learn & experience various techniques to help you either improve your breathing capabilities or simply for relaxation.
Sessions are on the occasional Friday at 11h00 and a Saturday at 10h00
Pop me an e-mail and I will forward you all the information.
Benefits of Conscious Breathing:
- Relieves pain - In a recent study involving 14 patients suffering from fibromyalgia (a disease in which pain is chronic), researchers concluded that qigong, an exercise involving meditation and deep breathing, had a profound positive effect on managing the intervention group's symptoms, including pain.
- Reduce stress - Deep breathing and various breathing techniques encourages the body to relax and unwind.
- Better Sleep - Deep breathing is thought to promote relaxation by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby breaking the cycle of insomnia
Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
After you have mastered belly breathing, you may want to try one of these more advanced breathing exercises. Try all three, and see which one works best for you:
- 4-7-8 breathing
- Roll breathing
- Morning breathing
This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.
- To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.
- Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
- Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
- Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
- Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
The object of roll breathing is to develop full use of your lungs and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position. But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.
- Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your "belly" (left) hand goes up when you inhale and your "chest" (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this 8 to 10 times.
- When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: Inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.
- As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
- Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.
Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime you need one.
Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breathe too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.
Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.
- From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
- As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.
- Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
- Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.