Note: Always breathe and move in ways that don't create pain or anxiety. Listen to your body, and please consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions before doing exercises.
There are many ways to practice breath control. Here are a few you can try:
- Mindful Breathing: Sit up tall. Close your eyes. Do nothing special to your breath, just focus all your awareness on noticing what moves and how it feels to simply breathe.
- Slow Breathing: Sit up tall. Don’t hold your breath, instead just watch and breathe as slowly and evenly as possible and count the number of breaths you take in 3 minutes.
- 4-7-8 Breathing: Start by exhaling fully. Now breathe in through your nose to a slow count of 4. Gently hold your breath to the count of 7. Exhale slowly to the count of 8. Repeat at least 4 times.
- 4-7-8 Breath with Sound: Start by exhaling fully. Now breathe in through your nose to the count of 4. Gently hold your breath to the count of 7. Let out a soft, long sigh while slowly exhaling to the count of 8. Repeat about 8 times.
- Ocean Breathing: While breathing slowly and gently, start inhaling from the belly and let the breath expand into your lower and upper rib area. Hold your tongue back in the mouth a bit to help slow and control the breath and to make a soft ocean-like sound on both your inhalation and exhalation. To exhale, slowly contract the rib area first followed by the belly. Repeat for 2 minutes or more.
- Chant: Sing a sound like “Oh,” “Om” or “Ah” for 3-10 minutes. This is calming, and helps expand and gain control over your breath.
You can add gentle movement to help expand the lung area while practicing breath control. Sync your breath and movement, taking a full inhalation or exhalation with each move, filling your whole movement into the length of your breath. Here are a few ways you can try:
- Waterfall Breathing: This can be done seated or standing. Inhale your arms up slowly in front of you with your elbows bent and your wrists relaxed. Pause when the hands are about as high as your forehead. Exhale, lower your arms with wrists up and fingers gently sliding down an imaginary wall. Repeat 4 or more times.
- Wide Arm Breathing: Stand in horse stance with your feet about two feet apart and knees bent. Inhale and take your arms out wide. Then exhale taking your hands to your heart. Repeat 4 or more times.
- Arms Up and Down Breathing: Stand tall with your hands together at your heart. On the inhalation, move your arms slowly forward, then out sideways, then look up and reach arms up high. On the exhalation, slowly lower your arms halfway down and out to the sides, then forward, and then hands back to your heart. Take your time. Repeat 4 or more times.
- Side Bend Breathing: Stand with your feet about two feet apart and your knees straight. Inhale while reaching your left arm up. Hold your breath, gently press your left foot down and take a comfortable stretch through your left side and ribs. Side bend towards the right with your hand open, gaze at your hand, and stretch your arm a little further to open your lungs. Exhale and move your body and arm back up, and lower your arm down to the side. Repeat on other side. Do both sides twice.