Breathing exercises are understood to be consciously performed breathing techniques to train the respiratory muscles. The exercises are performed in different positions and include different elements, such as targeted breathing through the mouth and prolonged exhalation. This is especially useful for breathing difficulties.
Here, breathing exercises can help to reduce shortness of breath. A better oxygen circulation is achieved. Breathing exercises can also help to reduce stress or prepare the expectant mother for the birth.
Breathing exercises for relaxation
Breathing exercises for relaxation are part of many psychotherapeutic approaches as well as a component of self-help programs. Breathing also plays an important role in meditation. If you are physically or emotionally stressed, it often happens that you unconsciously train a wrong and inefficient breathing.
This can lead to the body not being adequately supplied with oxygen. To compensate, one breathes shallower and faster (hyperventilation), which additionally stresses the body. However, if you consciously influence your breathing, this can have a positive effect on physical and emotional factors.
There are various breathing exercises for relaxation, but the basic principle remains the same:
- You close your eyes and focus entirely on your breathing. – You breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. – Breathing should be as deep and slow as possible.
Often the length of the breaths is controlled by counting slowly up to a certain number. – A classic exercise is to try to exhale twice as long as you have inhaled. For the first breathing exercise to relax, it is best to sit straight against a chair, with the head slightly tilted down while the shoulders are relaxed.
This makes it easier to control whether you breathe deep into your stomach. Once you have adopted the correct position, you should now concentrate on breathing. The inhalation is done through the nose.
It is important to breathe deeply into the stomach and not just superficially into the chest. If you place your hands on your stomach, you can feel your stomach bulging forward. When inhaling, count from 1 to 3 in your head.
The exhalation then also takes place over 3 seconds, but not through the nose but through the slightly opened lips. If you do not feel any shortness of breath, you should try to inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds. If this is also not a problem, the process can be extended by another second.
In general, always pay close attention to your breathing and your body and increase the intervals only slowly. After one week of training, however, it may well be possible that inhaling and exhaling take 10 seconds each, which leads to a significant reduction in stress. A further breathing exercise for relaxation can also be done while sitting.
However, the head should be tilted slightly upwards. It is best to fix a point on the ceiling. Here it is again important that the back is straight and the shoulders are relaxed.
Now inhale through the nose for about 5 seconds and exhale through the nose for another 5 seconds. If you do not feel any difficulty in breathing, the number of seconds can be increased. The aim is to require only 3-4 breaths per minute to supply the body with sufficient oxygen.
This breathing exercise for relaxation works very quickly and can also help depressed or anxious patients to better control their emotions through breathing. The next relaxation breathing exercise can also be done in the office, for example during the lunch break. One should press against the office chair with a straight back.
When breathing in, the arms should be straight and stretched upwards. When exhaling, the arms should then be slowly lowered again, with the hands on the stomach. Only when the impulse to inhale comes back, inhale again and take your arms up again.
This exercise should be performed 2-4 times. It is especially important to breathe in as deeply and evenly as possible. All in all, the breathing exercises can be done repeatedly in between for relaxation. The advantage of breathing exercises is that they not only lead to relaxation, but have also been proven to improve sleep and relieve the heart. Short breathing exercises are therefore very worthwhile and easy to integrate into everyday life.