Which breathing exercise can I do?

Would you like to relax better? Mind your breathing!

Breathing properly influences your physical and emotional state much more than you may think.

Bhastrika breathing

Bhastrika involves a rapid inhalation as well as an exhalation and can best be done on an empty stomach. This helps to increase the circulation of blood in the entire body. During rapid and forced exhalation, the chest is compressed, thereby pushing the blood towards the head. During the inhalation, the reverse takes place. This process increases the blood flow to every part of the body, increasing the vitality of all the organs and tissues. Bhastrika increases the oxygen content in the blood.

If you feel light-headed or even a bit dizzy during practicing this exercise, just pause for a moment and breath normally. You can continue whenever you feel ready. 

Contra-indications:
Better not to practice this breathing exercise if you are pregnant, if you have hypertension (high blood pressure), epilepsy, or if you are suffering from panic disorders. 

For more information, check out this video.

Ujjayi breathing

Ujjayi breathing or victorious breathing gives you energy and relaxes. It is similar to abdominal breathing, but with a small narrowing in your throat. You breathe in and out through your nose only. 
The benefits of this breathing technique are that it allows you to concentrate better and the oxygen level in your blood rises. The Ujjayi breathing is therefore often applied during yoga exercises. 

How does the Ujjayi breathing work?

  • Stand or sit quietly.
  • Close your mouth, inhale and exhale through your nose, while you constricting the back of the throat (like closing your throat slightly). When you exhale, it is like you are fogging a mirror; you make a soft oceanic sound (it also sounds a bit like Darth Vader).  
  • Make sure you breathe all the way towards your lower belly.
  • Breathe in and out slowly.
Contra-indications: 
This breathing technique is better not be practiced if you are suffering from heart disease, very low blood pressure, or migraine problems. 

Check out this video if you want to know more about this breathing technique. 
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