woman breathing
Wellness October 23, 2020

3 Breathing Exercises That Will Literally Change Your Life

By Club Health

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Our most recent article on alternative treatment therapies, touched upon the therapeutic benefits of breathing exercises. 

Today, we will take our research one step further and we will share 3 of the most beneficial breathing exercises you can perform at the comfort of your own home. 

Before we do that, we want to point you in the direction of science and research indicating that there is a correlation between the way you breathe and the way you think and feel. 

This has been an area of research for many years and the more we learn about this connection, the more treatments like breathing exercises become more and more mainstream. 

If we take a look at this narrative review of scientific evidence for example, we can see the beneficial effects of yogic breathing exercises in both physiological and clinical setups. 

Our aim here at the Club is to study the latest innovations and scientific research, learn and practice them in a way that they can become part of your life and daily routine. 

The exercises we are about to share with you might sound basic and simple, but much like our posture exercise guide, they can literally change your life. 

Let’s dive right into it. 

Breathing Exercise #1: Pursed Lip Breathing

We’ll start with an exercise that everyone and anyone can perform. 

We’ll list the steps, but if you’re the visual type, feel free to have a look at the excellent demonstrative video put together by the American Lung Association. 

Pursed Lip Breathing Exercise Steps

  1. Sit in an upright position and try to take a few moments to relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
  2. Breathe in through your nose keeping your mouth closed. Try to maintain a slow, steady pace when inhaling. It should take you between 2-4 seconds to take a whole breath.
  3. When breathing out, keep the same pace and technique only this time, you will do your best to release the air through pursed lips. Think of it as trying to whistle. 

The technique is easy to master and execute and you will be surprised as the array of benefits it is associated with. 

Here’s a short list of the most prominent benefits you will enjoy when practicing the pursed lip breathing exercises.

Pursed Lip Breathing Benefits

  • Eases shortness of breath
  • Gets more oxygen into your lungs
  • Calms you down
  • Gets rid of stale air from the lungs
  • Improves your ability to exercise

It’s amazing what non-invasive, non-sweat and non-gear exercise can help us achieve. All you need is to allow some time in your day, be consistent and disciplined. 

Make these exercises a part of your day, your routine, your daily rituals and trust us when we say that your body will thank you for this. 

Let’s move on to the next one.

Breathing Exercise #2: Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

Once again, we’re giving you an exercise that is simple to understand and execute. We live in an era where fitness, wellness and exercise are associated with leaving everything on the gym floor, sweating and giving 1000% of effort day in and day out. 

While that is a good mindset to have, it’s important to know that simplicity can also yield results. These exercises are designed to reset your body and work on the muscles and organs that might not necessarily be visible to the human eye. 

Let’s take a look at the steps required to execute the equal breathing exercise. 

Equal Breathing Exercise Steps

  1. You can execute this exercise by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position 
  2. Your eyes can be open or closed. 
  3. For more precision have a stopwatch available.
  4. The secret is in the name “ equal”. 
  5. Take 3-5 seconds to inhale and 3-5 seconds to exhale. 
  6. All inhalations and exhalations should be made through your nose 
  7. Once you master the technique, try and prolong breaths to 6-8 seconds per breath.

It’s interesting to note that the equal breathing exercise is being leveraged by navy seals in stressful situations. Regulating their breath allows them to calm down and regain control of their body and thinking. 

woman sitting down performing breathing exercises

Here’s a list of more benefits associated with equal breathing. 

Equal Breathing Benefits

  • Calms the body
  • Focuses the mind making it easier to concentrate 
  • Dilutes stress
  • Regulates the autonomic nervous system (ANS)

Let’s move on to exercise number 3. 

Breathing Exercise #3: Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”

This is where our exercises are starting to become more playful and fun. As the name suggests, for this exercise you will have to alternate nostrils when allowing air into your lungs. Why, you might ask? 

First, let’s get down to the explanation of the exercise and then we can dive into its benefits and unique setup. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing Steps

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed.
  2. Place your left hand on your left knee and raise your right hand towards your nose.
  3. Exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
  4. Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your fingers.
  5. Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.
  6. Repeat the technique and alternate between nostrils.
  7. Keep this up to 5 minutes. 

If this is hard to pick up, please have a look at this beautiful video by famous yogi YouTuber, Adriene, where she explains and showcases the exercise step by step. 

Now let’s get down to the benefits. 

Why go into all this trouble of blocking air through one nostril and not just inhale from both as usual? Here’s a list of the benefits that make alternate nostril breathing so popular. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing Benefits

  • Improves lung function and respiratory endurance
  • Cures headaches
  • Lowers stress and improves cardiovascular function
  • Allows oxygen to activate both the right side of the brain—which is the source of your creativity and imagination—and the left side—which controls reason and logic

Recap

There you have it. Three exercises that will give your body a breath of fresh air (pun intended). 

For more exercises feel free to contact the Club via email or phone and we will be more than happy to share it with you. 

Stay tuned as there is more actionable content coming your way.