Breathing correctly is so important to life but can be easily overlooked because it's always present.
To keep things very simple, I'll use opposites to compare what's best.
Belly vs Chest
Belly breathing is when you use your abdomin with your breath. This naturally incorporates the diaphragm so you fill more of your lungs with oxygen.
In comparison, chest breathing is shallow and fills up a smaller percentage of your lungs. I've also seen a study where chest breathers were more prone to heart attacks.
Slow vs Fast
Slow breathing calms the nerves and relaxes the body normalising blood pressure.
Fast breathing increases the heart rate, and blood pressure.
Slow belly breathing is best.
This picture explains correct breathing.
- Inhale expanding the belly.
- Exhale contracting belly toward the spine.
But there are a few rules.
- Only ever inhale using the nose.
- Exhale can be through nose or mouth depending - I tend to only use mouth when cleansing or a specific exercise, otherwise nose.
There are many counts, but something nice and safe to practice is the following count.
- Inhale (mentally count to 4)
- Exhale (mentally count to 6 or 8)
Try these breathing exercises either sitting or standing starting at 5 min and increasing to 30 min if you're already meditating.
NB: And don't forget the 5 Principles.
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(Don't Worry, Relax, Be Happy, Concentrate and Do Your Best)