by Cindy VanDyke
Now that you know about some simple everyday breathing techniques, here are some other breathing techniques that can be used to help you in other areas of your life where you may have trouble.
Strengthening the Abdominals
Purse your lips and pretend you are blowing through a straw. Feel the muscles contract and work in your core area. This strengthens, massages, and invigorates your organs.
Now let’s learn how to take a full breath. A lot of the breath is in the rib and back of your body. It is done in three parts. Your hand is on your belly as you inhale; feel it rise, then your hands go to your sides on your ribs; feel them expand out like an accordion. Then your hand is on your sternum; feel it lift out away from your back or your spine.
This is called the complete breath. All three areas open, making space inside.
In yoga we learn a lot about breathing techniques. It is called pranayama. Prana is energy.
We have already done a yoga breath called nadi shodhana. That was the breath through one nostril at a time, and is used for clarity, balance, and calmness. I’ve also shown you kapalabhati, used for increasing and maintaining energy, where we used our diaphragm to pump more than once on an exhale to push stale air out and inhale deeper. You can learn how to do these breathing techniques in the post: Gaining Energy & Clarity Through Breathing.
There is also a breath called ocean breath, or ujjayi. There is a vibrational sound in the back of the throat as you breathe in and out through the nose. This breath brings us focus and control. We learn it by making the sound of a deep whisper and as we repeat the breath it sounds like the waves of the ocean powerful and steady.
This brings us to the bee breath! To release a busy brain, we have the bee breath. This one is interesting, and you will want to do it when you are alone. Think of a child that plugs his ears and makes sounds when he doesn't want to hear anything. Well, we plug our ears with our fingers, close our eyes, and hum loud on our inhale and our exhale. The longer we do this, the deeper the hum gets and the longer and slower our inhale and exhale get. Our worries, thoughts, and monkeys will leave our brain. This is a great busy brain cure.
There is a technique called conscious connected breathing, or the transformational breath. This is used in the world of psychiatry and by cultures with shamans.
You breathe in and out through the mouth with absolutely no pause after the inhale or exhale. It is not done fast, so it is not hyperventilating. It produces a reaction to move energy through the body to break down energy blockages and holding patterns that we all have whether they be physical, emotional, or energetic. This technique has been perfected by Dr. Stanislav Grof from Czechoslovakia and has helped thousands of people release emotional and mental pain held in their bodies.
We have only covered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to breath. There is so much to learn and share about this function that we all do, and never think about it unless we are struggling with a respiratory illness. I hope you were able to find something you can use to help yourself or someone you know to boost your immunity and decrease your stress.
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