We all know how to breathe, right? It’s simple, we inhale and we exhale, it comes naturally. It’s just something we do right? Mmmm… There is actually a lot more to it than that. Breathing is an incredible functions we have to energize, cleanse, detoxify and feed our bodies, however, unfortunately many of us no longer breathe as deeply, and efficiently as we should. Over the years we tend to pick up some ‘not so good’ habits when it comes to our breathing… especially girls. Many of us grow up learning to suck our tummies in and by doing so begin to breathe lighter, shorter and only into our upper chest, instead of deep into our abdomen. The down side to this is we don’t actually receive all the additional benefits breathing has to offer like increased energy levels, mind clarity, improved immune system, greater heart and lung function… The list goes on.
At Purpure, one of the ways we teach girls to access the true benefits of breathing is through some simple techniques listed below. Learning to breathe properly really is a skill and takes some practice, but the benefits are definitely worth it!
1. Bellows Breath – This breathing technique, discussed in more detail here, consists of breathing in and out rapidly through the nose to increase energy levels. The ideal pace is three breaths in and out per second. Keep in mind that this should only be attempted for short periods of times, to prevent hyperventilation. Keep this breathing session to fifteen seconds, and then lengthen it by five seconds as your body learns to adjust, up to a full minute. The focus of this exercise is to relax the mind and invigorate the body.
2. Breathing to Relax – This technique is especially good for teenagers who suffer from anxiety or are going through a particularly stressful time as it helps to calm the body and quieten the mind. The process is very simple. Find a place to sit still, and exhale all of the air out of your longs. Then, count to four as you breathe in through your nose. Hold that breath for seven seconds, and the breath out through the mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this four times. (WebMD). When practicing this technique try to focus your thoughts just on your breathing.
3. Count Your Breaths – Harvard University has recommended repetitive, reliable actions in order to help calm the mind. Counting your breaths, as you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, is a great way to get your brain to focus on one, repetitive action, letting your body fall into a calm, even rhythm. Each inhalation should be one count, and each exhalation, the second count.
At Purpure we recommend teenagers learn to participate in yoga and meditations sessions which focus on breathing techniques at least once a week. We are committed to teaching the best breathing techniques in our programs and welcome you to join us. Find out more by clicking here.