Are You Breathing Properly?
To find out if you are breathing properly:
Lie flat on your back, stand up straight, or sit up straight in a chair.
Place your hand just below your ribs, on your abdomen.
Breathe as you normally do.
Notice: Does your hand on your abdominal area rise? Or does your upper chest rise? (You may even feel your shoulders rise slightly.)
If your abdomen rises and your chest stays relatively flat, you are breathing properly.
If your abdomen barely moves and your chest rises, you are not breathing properly and need to practice the breathing exercise described below.
Tools for correcting your breathing
The 5 Easy Principles of Proper Breathing
- Breathe through the nose
- Breathe with the diaphragm
- Breathe relaxed
- Breathe rhythmically
- Breathe silently
5 Easy Ways to Proper Breathing
- Conscious breathing – Become aware of how you breathe during different parts of the day. A practical tip for this is to let your phone alarm go off every hour or so and check your breathing each time it does. Are you breathing relaxed, rhythmically, silently and deeply through your nose? Is there room for improvement in this particular situation?
- Breathe through your nose – A closed mouth, with the tongue placed up the palate ensures that the breathing happens in and out the nose. If your nose is stuffy, do a sinus rinse.
- Extended exhale – An extended exhale increases the relaxation and makes the inhale deeper and more rhythmical. For optimal breathing the inhale should be 2-3 seconds, exhale 3-4 seconds followed by a pause for 2-3 seconds. The extended exhale also has a positive effect on the inhale which gets deeper.
- Straight posture – An upright posture gives a deeper breathing where the diaphragm gets more space to work. Your thoughts and feelings are affected in a positive way and at the same time it gets easier to breathe through the nose.
- Body consciousness – Be aware of your body and how tense or relaxed it is in different situations. A relaxed body makes it easier to keep a rhythmical and relaxed breathing.