How Deep Is Your Breathing?

How Well Do You Breath?

Breathing is our permanent companion—we wouldn’t survive without it for more than a couple of minutes. Learn why deep breathing is so important for your well-being.

Inhalation gives our body the vital fuel (oxygen) that it needs to function, and exhalation eliminates the toxins (particularly carbon dioxide) produced as we go about our daily tasks.

Deep breathing is very important

For thousands of years, spiritual seekers and yogis have understood not only the physical, but also the mental and spiritual benefits of breathing. Yet in modern-day society, many people don’t breathe “well.” Instead, they breath shallow—short, sharp breaths into the top of the chest rather than slow, deep ones into the belly.

Subtly look around you the next time you’re on a train or bus—the inhalations of most people will most likely be so shallow that you’ll hardly see their stomach or chest moving. They are only “half-breathing.”

deep breathing
Deep breathing maximizes your intake of oxygen and your elimination of waste products.

This is a real shame because slow, deep breathing not only maximizes your intake of oxygen and your elimination of waste products, which boosts all your body’s functions, but it also helps to:

  • increase energy levels and stamina
  • relieve body tension
  • enhance mental focus
  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • stimulates a sense of calm and equilibrium
  • enhance overall mood
  • enhance overall fitness.

It’s useful to assess the way you breathe from time to time —to see if you, too, take this vital function for granted.

This is how proper breathing looks and feels like

Follow the following steps to get a sense of how true deep breathing feels. Compare it to how you usually breathe to determine what changes you need to make, if any, to maximize the use of your breath.

Belly Breathing
Feel how your belly gradually expands and your hands on your rib cage raise slightly.

After all, breathing is without doubt one of the few automatic functions that we can consciously control, so we should make the most of it.

It’s important to use full breathing both during everyday actions and during exercise, since physical activity further increases your body’s need for oxygen.

  1. Stand tall, sit or lie down, and place your hands on both sides of your ribs, just below your chest, with your fingers spread wide.
  2. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose and, as you do so, feel your belly gradually expand and your hands on your rib cage raise slightly. When you feel like you can’t take in any more air, slowly breathe out through your mouth, feeling both your rib cage lower and your belly  deflate, until you feel like you’ve expelled all air. Do this several times.

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Written by Jenny Nickelson

Jenny Nickelson has been a sports enthusiast since childhood. Because of her deep love to water, she started training swimming in early years. Today she swears on variety and does it all: from swimming, running and cycling to fitness, skiing, dancing and mountaineering.

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