Meditation and proper breathing practices are key to our concentration
In the East they have known for a long time: meditation and proper breathing practices increase our capacity for concentration. In May 2018, a study published by researchers at Trinity College explained for the first time the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention.
These Are the 10 Best Breathing Exercises Techniques
Focusing our activities with proper breathing can lead us to improve not only our sports capabilities but the health of our brain, both in the short and long term.
1.Pranayama or Square Breathing
It is a set of breathing exercises that help control the prana, energy or life force contained in the breath within our body. It is also called square breathing and it helps us to concentrate.
You have to sit with your back straight and your legs crossed. First, take a deep breath for 3 minutes to relax and then follow these steps:
- Inspire through the nose for 3 seconds.
- Hold the air for 3 seconds.
- Exhale through the nose for 3 seconds.
- Hold in vacuum for 3 seconds.
Repeat the process, increasing a second more, up to 4.
Repeat the same cycle until you reach 7 or 8 seconds.
2. Buteyko and Respiratory Training in Cases of Hyperventilation
Sometimes, hyperventilation can play tricks on us. The Ukrainian doctor Konstantin Buteyko proposed a method that consists of reeducating our breathing habits to correct the hyperventilation generated many times in asthmatic people.
Following this base, the Methodist University of Dallas created a method that consists of learning to breathe more slowly and more superficially in such a way that hyperventilation can be reversed.
When the blood works with abnormally low levels of carbon dioxide, a state of excessive respiration occurs, which is quite common, for example, in panic states. To stop hyperventilation, it is necessary to generate a positive change in carbon dioxide, which is the one that manages to transform these panic symptoms into a normal state.
Unlike what you usually think, in the event that we are ever hyperventilating before, during or after physical exercise, we should not perform deep breaths, but superficial and slow.
It is very important not to confuse speed with intensity since very deep breaths collaborate in maintaining the state of hyperventilation.
3. Diaphragmatic or Abdominal Breathing Against Anxiety
Are you anxious? Wanting to move, but does not leave your stress? Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Take a deep breath through the nose for 3 seconds.
- Observe how your belly swells and your hand placed on it rises.
- Take a short pause for a couple of seconds.
- Exhale through the mouth slowly for 4 seconds.
- Repeat the sequence for 10 minutes.
Do you feel better? Surely yes.
4. Complete Breathing to Expand Thoracic Capacity
To apply this technique, place your hands in the same position as in abdominal breathing. We can do it sitting, lying or standing. It consists of performing three phases of inspiration and three phases of expiration. It is a breath that, in addition to increasing our thoracic capacity, helps us to train our self-control.
The procedure is the next:
- Inspire slowly through the nose, bringing air to the abdomen, then to the ribs and finally to the clavicle.
- Hold the air for a few seconds.
- Begin to expel the air in the opposite direction: clavicle, ribs, abdomen, nose.
- Repeat several times.
5. Nadi Shodana Breathing or Alternating Through the Nostrils
It is a simple breath that we can perform after intense physical exercise because it quickly leads to a state of relaxation of the body and very beneficial mind.
It is best to sit in meditation posture, straight column, and relaxed shoulders.
- Cover the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril.
- Uncover the right nostril while covering the left nostril with the ring and little fingers and slowly release the air on the right.
- With the left nostril blocked, inhale air through the right nostril.
- Cover the right, uncover the left, release the air and start the cycle again.
6. Breathing Sama Vritti or Distributive Breathing to Sleep Well
You just finished a very strong workout or the test of your life for which you had trained a long season. You are so tired that you are not able to fall asleep. So, you can choose to count sheep or disconnect with Sama Vritti.
- Inhale through the nose counting to four.
- Exhale through the nose counting to four.
If you already master this breathing technique, increase each step by counting to 7 or 8. Repeat the process and “Go to sleep, child, go to sleep now …”
7. Progressive Breathing to Calm Tensions
If you feel muscular tensions in muscles that you did not know, it is good to practice progressive relaxation accompanied by slow breathing.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Inspire very slowly through the nose for 5 seconds. In each inspiration, contract a group of muscles for 5 seconds each. It begins with the toes, feet, legs, knees, thighs, buttocks, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw and eyes.
- In each expiration through the mouth, relax, for 5 seconds each, the same muscles that you contracted during inspiration.
If you feel uncomfortable or dizzy, reduce the time to 2 or 3 seconds and increase it to 5 progressively.
8. Kapalabhati Breathing or “Bright Skull Breathing” to Warm Up
Do you want to start the day shining, full of energy or prepare the best warm-up of your life? We propose a very intense breathing for the abdomen that will make you get going quickly:
- Inhale very slowly through the nose.
- Exhale, then, also through the nose, quickly and strongly with a drastic movement from the lower abdomen.
- Repeat the cycle until the movement is mastered.
- Repeat the sequence every 1 or 2 seconds up to 10 times.
- When you are finished, there will be no day or exercise that will get you through!
9. Consistent Anti-stress Breathing
To optimize the heart rate and relax the nervous system, you can perform the technique of coherent breathing, which involves breathing only five times in each minute.
- Sit with your back straight.
- Use a clock-timer to calculate the minimum number of slow breaths you can perform in one minute.
- Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, trying to be only 5 times for a minute.
- If you get dizzy or do not feel well, start the exercise with 6 or 7 breaths in a minute.
- Repeat the process until you reach only 5 breaths in 60 seconds.
When you master the technique after several repetitions, you will feel much better and the heat stress will have disappeared.
10. Breathing Technique 4-7-8 to Fall Asleep in a Minute
Says its creator, Andrew Weil, director of Integral Medicine at the University of Arizona, that this form of breathing helps you fall asleep in just one minute. The technique is based on diaphragmatic breathing.
- It can be done in any position, but it is recommended to sit with your back straight and supported by a backrest.
- Place the tip of the tongue at the base of the front teeth, at the beginning of the palate so that the air is distributed through the mouth at each expiration.
- Inspire through the nose with your mouth closed, counting up to 4.
- Hold your breath, counting to 7.
- Exhale through the mouth with a loud sound the complete air retained in the lungs for 8 seconds until emptying them.
The most important thing is that the relationship between inspiration and expiration times remain (half and double). If the technique 4-7-8 is complicated, you can start with a 3-3-6, go to 3-4-6, then to 3-5-6, 3-6-6, 4-6-8 until getting to 4-7-8.