How to breathe for better health: 3 techniques
The human body breathes every day, all day. People don’t even have to think about it. But what would happen if we did think about our breathing? If we tried, could we breathe our bodies into better health? Increasingly, studies show that the answer is “yes.”
Deep breaths send a signal to the brain to relax. In turn, the body reduces muscle tension, blood pressure and anxiety. Each of these techniques provides an easy way to explore the health benefits of better breathing.
1. Calming counts
The calming counts technique starts with one deep inhale. Then, as you exhale, slowly countdown from ten to one. By number one, there should be no more air to exhale. The key here is to stay focused on breathing. If other thoughts come up, return your attention to the slow, calm process of breathing.
2. Abdominal breathing
When people are stressed, we tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Abdominal breathing works to counteract this by using more of the body to inhale. Begin by laying down. Cover your stomach with your hand. Take a long, deep breath and allow your belly to fill with air. Continue until you can feel air fill your chest, too. Then slowly exhale by releasing the air from your belly first, followed by your chest, until you have exhaled completely. Repeat.
3. Alternate nostril breathing
This technique is derived from pranayama, an ancient Indian practice. In alternate nostril breathing, the first step is to sit comfortably with your back straight. As you inhale, cover your left nostril, so air comes in through the right nostril only. When your lungs are full, cover both nostrils. Hold the breath briefly and gently. Then uncover the left nostril and fully exhale. Repeat for 5–10 breath cycles.
Better breathing is always available
Breathing exercises like these have long been used to calm the body and mind. Try them all, as well as others, to find the best method for you. As Dr. Christophe André writes in Scientific American, “Breathing is like solar energy for relaxation: it’s a way to regulate emotions that is free, always accessible, inexhaustible and easy to use.”
To experience the full benefits of deep, calming breaths, it’s best to draw in clean air. Coway Airmega air purifiers monitor indoor air quality, and provide optimal levels of fresh air in your home. Every Coway Airmega product is equipped with a HEPA filter that reduces air particles, as small as 0.3 microns in size, by 99.97 percent. As a result, every deep breath brings in pure air for better health.