I’ve always had this problem. I never breathe enough. Or deeply enough. In fact sometimes I catch myself barely breathing at all, just short shallow panting, and I only become aware of that when I start to feel weird, either physically or emotionally. Then I have to stop and take a few deep breaths.
I’m sure most of you have now heard of the 4-7-8 breathing technique, meant to relax, help you sleep, and even do nice things to your body’s wellbeing. I tried it awhile back and actually couldn’t do it (!). I kept panicking while exhaling for 8 seconds. Then I tried it again this morning and it was like… I’ve GOT this! So I am going to try doing it a couple of times a day, and especially when I wake up in the night.
If you don’t know how it works, here you go. Apparently your tongue should be resting against the roof of your mouth, on the ridge behind your front teeth.
- empty the lungs of air.
- breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds.
- hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds.
- exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds.
- repeat the cycle up to 4 times.
I don’t know why they say you shouldn’t do this more than four times in a row, but apparently you can work yourself up to eight times. Worth a shot. Anyone else doing this?
Pretty typical Prana Yoga style, though I don’t know where the four-breath limit came from. I’ve read Yoga texts that recommend sixty breaths like that a day, and no, i don’t ever get to that. The stop and slow exhale kick in your parasynpathetic (calming, recuperative) nervous system, the benefit being that most people are stuck in a mild form of “sympathetic shock” with the mind and body leaning toward over drive (“wired”).
True, deep breathing or breath manipulation can make you a little dizzy at first. That’s probably the reason for the limit.
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It was the SLOW exhale I was having trouble with, but now that seems easier (for now) so I am going to do this just before bed and then when I inevitably wake up in the wee hours.
As I have asthma I have a different breathing technique which increases lung capacity. It’s leaning forward on a chair or something else whilst sitting and raising elbows to shoulders then breathing deeply. It helps with asthma attacks and for getting deeper breathing. Have you had a lot of chest tightness recently. Paul has had problems and he is not normally wheezes. I am not sure whether it’s a bit of hay fever..the jacarandas and laburnum flowers have been crazy this year..or a side effect of vaccination (I had the Pfizer red eye this week, two weeks after my second dose) or something to be more worried about. Wtf!
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Breathing awareness is new to me. And now I realise just how often I’m barely breathing at all.
Yes, chest tightness, pressure pain in arms and neck, you know, the typical heart attack symptoms! Except then I don’t have a heart attack (well, not yet anyhow) but it’s still worrying.