Breathing

Most important in our life is breathing because if we stop breathing for 2-3 minutes we might stop living. Breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a free, simple and useful tool for achieving an activated or relaxed and clear state of mind, to improve our health and immune system. I recommend personalised breathing exercises/techniques below depending on your current condition or situation: 

MOJO Breathing (inspired by Wim Hof & Prof. Buteyko)

While sitting, lying or standing still, please, take 3 quick and deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose. All breathing from now on should be only through the nose and as much as possible into your belly, not into your shoulders. After that please calm down your breathing back to normal and when you feel calm please, fully exhale, hold your breath with no air in the lungs and count the seconds for as long as you can. The number of seconds you were able to hold your breath is called Control Pause (CP) and as an example, we will use 6 s. If you have less than 10 s, you have a health problem. Less than 25 s, your health needs attention. 30-40 s is satisfactory, while 60+ s is excellent. Now you need to divide CP in half and this is the time (in this case = 3 s) which you will be holding your breath for the next 5 cycles below:
Normal breath in through the nose, full normal exhale through the nose and hold for 3 seconds your breath. Please repeat this 5 times in a row. At the end please clap your palms together 5 times, smile and be proud of yourself.
All this exercise will take only 1 minute of your time and please do it at least in the morning. More times you will be able to repeat it through the day quicker you will notice benefits.

Stimulating Breathing (also called Bellows Breathing, or Bhastrika)

This is a traditional yoga breathing technique used to energize the body and clear the mind. It has also been used to lose weight by increasing digestive power and boosting metabolism.
Here are the directions for The Stimulating Breathing:  
1. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
2. Try for 2-3 in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
3. Do not do for more than 10 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

4:7:8 Breathing (also called the relaxing or tranquilising breathing)

1. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through the nose to a count of four.
2. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
3. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
4. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

TIPS: Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and keep it there through the entire exercise.
You always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth; don’t forget the whoosh sound.
You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation.
The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important.
If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice, you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more deeply.

Counting Your Breath

Simply count how long it takes for you to breathe in through the nose and count how long it takes to breathe out through the nose. Try to slow down your breathing by adding 1 second at each end until you feel relaxed and calm. From my experience, this is the best way to calm down high blood pressure in 2 minutes. Keep counting and focusing on your breathing at least 2 minutes once a day. My advice to everyone please, check your normal breathing rate at least once a month to know what is your norm in case you catch the flu or get sick.
If you have a smartphone please try one of the Breathing Apps

Box Breathing (also known as Navy SEAL or tactical breathing technique)

It’s a simple and effective way to help regain the calm and control your thoughts when under stress.
Here are the directions:
1. Inhale through the nose for 3 seconds;
2. Hold your lungs full for 3 seconds;
3. Exhale through the nose for 3 seconds;
4. Hold your lungs empty for 3 seconds.
Please repeat for as many times as you need to calm down. Also, you can try to increase it to 4 or 5 seconds to find your own best combination.

Alternate nostril breathing

Mouth breathing stresses your body, while nasal breathing keeps your body in a steady, more relaxed state.
Please try nasal breathing with this yoga breathing control technique known as nadi shodhana pranayama. Sitting up, breathe in through one nostril while you gently block the other one by pressing your finger against it. When you exhale, release your finger and breathe through the other nostril, blocking the opposite nostril. If continued for 2-5 minutes, this breathing calms, purifies, and strengthens the nervous system and deepens self-awareness and is excellent preparation for meditation.

Zen or Meditative Breathing

Lie down or sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally through the nose without trying to influence it. Ideally, it should be quiet and slow.
To begin the exercise, count 1 to yourself as you exhale through the nose.
The next time you exhale, count 2, and so on up to 5.
Then begin a new cycle, counting 1 on the next exhalation, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5 and 1 again. Never count higher than 5 and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to 8 or 12. By following this pattern you keep your mind focused on your breath instead of anxiety. Please try to do 5-10 minutes of this form of meditation every day.

Please try each of these breathing exercises/techniques to find the best for you and to experience how they are improving your health and life overall.

For personalised assessment and breathing exercise programme please phone 00447727261068 to arrange one to one phone or video session. A session lasts around 30 min and costs £30.00

References:

Groups and agesNormal breathing rates
Newborns to 6 months old25-40 breaths/min
6 months to 3 years old20–30 breaths/min
3 to 6 years old18–25 breaths/min
6 to 10 years old17–23 breaths/min
10 to 16 years old12–18 breaths/min
Adults12–18 breaths/min
Elderly ≥ 65 years old 12–28 breaths/min
Elderly ≥ 80 years old 10–30 breaths/min
  1. Respiratory Rate (From Wikipedia.org)
  2. Normal Breathing Rates for Children (From WebMD.com)
  3. Buteyko Breathing Centre (From Buteyko.co.uk)
  4. Breathing Slower & Less (From NormalBreathing.com)
  5. Myths About Breathing (From NormalBreathing.org)
  6. Wim Hof Breathing (From WimHofmethod.com)
  7. Frolov Breathing Device (From NormalBreathing.com)
  8. Breathing Apps (From FreeAppsForMe.com)