Assets: Breathing Exercises

For my Breathe feature, I have three different categories, each consisting of 6 exercises: Simple Breathing, Deep Breathing & Counting Your Breaths. I researched exercises for each of these categories, trying to find the ones that would work the best for the app and would be the most effective for the users.

SIMPLE BREATHING

Exercise 1: The same exercise that’s included in Control My Panic. Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and repeat 3 times.

Exercise 2: Inhale for 2, hold for one, exhale for 5. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Exercise 3: Belly Breathing – place one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest. Breathe deeply through your nostrils, letting the hand on your stomach be pushed out by the stomach. Breathe out through lips. Repeat x 10

Exercise 4: 4-7-8 – place one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest. Breathe slow and deep for 4 seconds, hold for 7 & exhale for 8. Repeat x 5

Exercise 5: Calming breath – Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs. Hold your breath to the count of “three.” Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach

Exercise 6: Balanced Mind Breathing (alternate nostril breathing) – Place the right hand “peace fingers” (the pointer and middle finger) at the third eye centre. Take a deep breath in through both nostrils. Exhale out the left for the count of four, using your thumb to close the other. Inhale left for the count of four. Hold the breath in closing both nostrils for the count of four. Exhale out the right for the count of four, using your ring finger to close the other. Inhale right for the count of four. Hold the breath in for the count of four. Left exhale for the count of four.

DEEP BREATHING

Exercise 1: Deep Breathing for Relaxation – Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose lasting close to 5 or 6 seconds. Hold for a few seconds, and breathe out slowly through your mouth, taking close to 7 seconds (breathe out like you’re whistling). Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 2: Full-body Breathing – Breathe in deeply through your nose and imagine your whole body filling up with air like a balloon. Next, make your mouth small like you are exhaling through a straw. Slowly exhale through your mouth until you feel like all the air has completely emptied from your body. Repeat this about 10 times and notice any changes in your heart rate or body tension.

Exercise 3: Quieting Response – first “smile inwardly” with your eyes and mouth and release the tension in your shoulders. This is a powerful muscle release in the places where most people hold their muscles tense. Then imagine holes in the soles of your feet. As you take a deep breath in, visualize hot air flowing through these holes moving slowly up your legs, through your abdomen and filling your lungs. Relax your muscles sequentially as the hot air moves through them up your body. When you exhale reverse the visualization so you “see” hot air coming out the same holes in your feet. Repeat throughout the day whenever you need to feel calm and relaxed.

Exercise 4: Skull Shining Breath – Start with a long and slow inhale, followed by a quick and powerful exhale that starts in the lower belly. Once you get comfortable with the slow inhale and ensuing quick exhale (all breathing through your nose), quicken your breathing every one to two seconds to execute a total of 10 breaths. This method of mindful deep breathing helps you wake up and look on the brighter side. It can even work to warm your body and re-energize you.

Exercise 5: Breath Moving – As you breathe in, imagine you are moving your breath to the top of your head. As you breathe out, imagine you are moving your breath to the base of your spine, your perineum, your sit bones. Each time you breathe in, move the breath to the top of the head. Each time you breathe out, move the breath to the base of the spine. Breathe in this circuit for ten cycles.

Exercise 6: Slow Breathing – This exercise may be easiest when lying on your back. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. Hold your breath and count to 10
Then breathe out and think’ relax’ to yourself. Then inhale slowly through your nose for 3 seconds. The hand on your abdomen should rise whilst the hand on your chest should stay relatively still. Then exhale through your mouth for three seconds, making a whooshing noise as you breathe out. Think “RELAX” as you exhale. The hand on your abdomen should fall as you exhale. After a minute of breathing in and out in a six second cycle, hold your breath again for 10 seconds. Keep repeating this process for 5 minutes.

COUNTING YOUR BREATHS

Exercise 1: Double Your Breath – This method has one simple rule – exhale for double the amount of time you inhale. Put simply, if you breathe in and count to four seconds, you should then slowly exhale and count to eight seconds as you do it. Let’s start with inhaling for 4, exhaling for 8. Repeat that five times. Then inhale for 6, exhale for 12. Repeat again 5 times.

Exercise 2: Calming Counts – sit comfortably. Take a long, deep breath and exhale it slowly while saying the word “relax” silently. Close your eyes. Let yourself take ten natural, easy breaths. Count down with each exhale, starting with “ten.” This time, while you are breathing comfortably, notice any tensions, perhaps in your jaw or forehead or stomach. Imagine those tensions loosening. When you reach “one,” open your eyes again.

Exercise 3: Breath Counting – Sit in a comfortable position, gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary. To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.” Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation. Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. Do this for 10 mins.

Exercise 4: Counting for Stress Relief – sit up straight and close eyes. Inhale for 3 counts, through your stomach, not chest. Exhale for 6, again through your stomach, not through your chest. Repeat for 5 minutes.

 

I tried to find more counting breath exercises but they are all very similar. I might just stick to having 4 of these instead of 6, or else change the category to miscellaneous and include these 4 as well as 2 other ones.

Sources: MindBodyGreen, The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, Anxieties.com, Breaking Muscle, Anxiety Coach, Seleni, Psych Central, Anxiety Australia, DailyMail, DrWeil.com, Huffington Post.

 

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