Wellness

Everything Is Connected With It: Right Breathing

To start the day well, to focus, to calm down, "get some fresh air", Meditating, healing, being full of energy, being able to experience the moment… In fact, they all point to one of the basic actions of life. Today, we're going back to the first thing we did when we were born: to breathe properly.

Breathing is something we do right as babies but get used to making mistakes as we grow up. Because many factors such as pollution, heat, noise, the intensity of our daily lives, inactivity and even popular culture that praises the image of a flat stomach; it leads us to hold our breath too much, to always breathe through our mouth and not enough.

Remembering the mechanics of breathing

When we breathe, the muscle at the bottom of our lungs called the diaphragm contracts downward. This creates more space in our chest cavity and creates a vacuum effect for us to send air into the lungs through the nose or mouth. The bronchi and veins keep us alive and healthy by delivering the oxygen we receive to the blood stream, heart and tissues. As we exhale, our diaphragm muscle relaxes upwards. The lungs contract and carbon dioxide is expelled.

Some of the scientific evidence that proper breathing is a serious need: 

  • It activates the parasympathetic system: “Rest and digest” Working with the motto of this system, it becomes more active with the right breathing. It allows to manage stress by regulating heartbeat and pulse. Studies show that over the long term, breathing exercises reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is associated with rapid aging.
  • It reduces the severity of pain: It especially relieves people with chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, migraine, neck pain, low back pain.
  • It supports against the feeling of burnout: Extreme tiredness, weakness; Most of the negative thoughts such as doubt and anxiety disappear with regular breathing exercises. 

What are the essentials of a breathing exercise?

  • Get into a comfortable sitting position where it will be easy for you to breathe. A yoga mat can help you.
  • Decide whether you want to try your practice with an audio guide or on your own. If you wish, take advantage of applications such as Headspace, Calm, Inside Timer.
  • Observe the change occurring simultaneously with your breaths. Are your breaths short or long? Is it light or deep? What changes as you hold your breath and after you exhale? How about breathing through your nose instead of your mouth? Where do you feel your breath the most, in your chest cavity or in your stomach?
  • Don't judge. On your first try, your mind can drift to many different places. Don't stress yourself out and always try to keep your focus on your breath.
  • Evaluate your practice when you're done. What differed? Have you calmed down? Are your thoughts clear? Did it have an effect you didn't expect? What aspects are you open to development in?
  • Now it's time to get acquainted with a few breathing techniques. 

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1. Equal Breath (Sama Vritti Pranayama / Box Breathing)

This technique, which is based on spending equal time while breathing, holding our breath and exhaling, is quite simple. Count to four, slowly progressing through all three steps. You can count to six or seven as you improve. Repeat the cycle at least five or six times.

This breath relaxes both your mind and body while calling you to balance. You can try anytime. How about trying it before going to sleep for a quick and peaceful transition to sleep?

2. Alternating Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana / Alternate Nostril Technique) 

Some of the situations in which it is ideal:

  • Causeless restlessness
  • Indecision on an important matter
  • intense headache 

Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Take a deep breath in through your left nostril and hold your breath. Without letting go of your breath, cross your thumb to the side. After closing the left side of your nose, exhale from the right side. Take your second breath from the right and continue for as long as you want, up to a few minutes, alternating this for a while. 

This type of breathing, which renews your energy and awakens your perceptions completely, is not recommended for pre-sleep, but is suitable for all other times. If you wish, you can take some time just before you start your work.

3. Lion's Breath (Simhasana / Lion's Breath) 

Some of the situations in which it is ideal:

  • Throat ache
  • thyroid disorder
  • Neck pain
  • Inability to get rid of certain thoughts
  • Public speaking, singing, etc. performance preparation
  • insecurity and shyness

Take a comfortable seat. Put your hands on your knees. If your shoulders are lifted, relax. Fix your eyes on one point. You can look up, right in the middle of your forehead. Take a deep breath. Then open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out. Exhale, similar to the 'ha' sound, with your eyes looking up. During this time, you can focus on a thought that you want to get rid of and fail to do. Repeat the cycle seven or eight times, regardless of how you look.

lion breath; clears the throat, vocal cords and diaphragm. On the one hand, it also supports your psychology by opening your throat chakra. Plus, he does it in a fun way. How about trying it when you need more confidence and creativity, or during a cold?

4. Ocean Breath (Ocean Breath / Victorious Breath / Ujjayi Pranayama) 

Some of the situations in which it is ideal:

  • Poor connection between mind and body
  • rapid mood swings
  • serious sleep problem
  • digestive problems
  • The need for longer performance in yoga or sports
  • overcrowding during the day

Take a comfortable seat. Take a deep breath through your nose. Bring one hand across your mouth. Breathe from your mouth to your hand, "Ha" Release slowly at a sound similar to your voice. At this time, try to feel more of the back of your throat. You will hear a sound similar to the one you hear when listening to seashells. After feeling the breath in your hand a few times, lower your hand and exhale this time into the air. Then, experience the same practice several times with your mouth closed, feeling your breath inside your mouth. 

With ocean breath, it is possible to feel better by focusing on the sound of your breath and strengthening your body-mind relationship. This type of breathing, which stimulates the vagus nerve from the cranial nerves, supports many functions from the skull to the intestines, from the heart to the lungs.

More for the curious: 

https://yogawithadriene.com/free-yoga-videos/pranayama/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321805#the-box-breathing-method

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-to-breathe-properly

https://www.insider.com/why-is-mindful-breathing-important

https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/08/15/shallow-breathing-whole-body/

https://www.healthline.com/health/practicing-lions-breath#how-to-do-it

https://www.verywellfit.com/ocean-breath-ujjayi-pranayama-3566763

https://www.nowtolove.co.nz/health/body/why-breathing-properly-is-so-important-32690

https://www.calm.com

https://insighttimer.com/meditation-app

https://www.calmwithyoga.com/increase-inner-calm-ocean-breathing/

The views expressed in this article aim to shed light on alternative studies and encourage conversation. These views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Be People and are for informational purposes only, even if they contain to some extent the advice of physicians and physicians (medical doctors). This article; It is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, and the information herein should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.

About the author:

Aygen Ecevit – Be People Editor

Aygen Ecevit completed her undergraduate education with Bilkent University Philosophy Major and Communication Design Minor Programs. Ecevit, who started his career as a culture and art unit writer for the school newspaper and then as the editor of the culture and art unit, has prepared articles and interviews for many different online channels. After graduating from Bilkent University Media and Visual Studies Master's Program, she worked as a content editor, PR assistant and freelance editor. Ecevit, a member of the AICA International Association of Art Critics, has been working in the field of strategic content production and copywriting as one of the editors of Mağaza Creative since November 2019.

Aygen Ecevit

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