Health Today

8 Types of Breathing Exercise Your Body Will Love!

A women practicing breathing exercise
Written by Dr Prachi Garg
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 Are you contemplating practising deep breathing exercises to reduce stress? If the answer is yes, then you are in the right direction. Breathing heals on many levels and understanding how it works is beneficial for both physical and mental well being.

Different types of breathing exercises affect your body differently. Knowing which ones to practice when and why is crucial.

Some Effective Breathing Exercises Are:

  • Nadi Shodhana or Anulom Vilom or Alternate Breathing

Anulom Vilom is a famous and highly effective breathing exercise.

Steps to perform Alternate Breathing

  1. You should first sit erect in a cross-legged position on the ground
  2. Close the right nostril with the right thumb and take a deep breath in from left nostril. Now close the left nostril with middle and ring finger and breathe out deeply from the right nostril
  3. Now close the left nostril and take a deep breath in from right nostril and then close the right nostril and breathe out deeply from the left nostril
  • Bhramari or Honeybee Humming Breath

Bhramari is a very good breathing exercise to calm down our mind and get rid of hidden anger and frustration.

Steps to perform Bhramari or Honeybee Humming Breath

  1. You should first sit erect in a cross-legged position on the ground
  2. Keep both your index fingers on the forehead, keep other fingers on your closed eyes and keep both your thumbs on both the ears respectively
  3. Now inhale slowly and deeply with both the nostrils. Then while exhaling, close your ears with your thumbs and keeping your mouth closed, make a humming sound like a bee
  • Sheetali Pranayama

Sheetali Pranayama is a great breathing exercise to relieve stress and anxiety. 

Steps to perform Sheetali Pranayama

  1. You should first sit erect in a cross-legged position on the ground with your eyes closed. Keep your hands on your knees
  2. Make a circle with your mouth and then curl your tongue inwards to form a tube, pushing it out
  3. Inhale slowly and deeply through this tube made by the tongue, as much as you can
  4. Hold the breath
  5. Then move the tongue inside closing your mouth and exhale deeply and slowly through the nostrils
  • Kapalbhati or Skull Shining Breath

Since Kapalbhati involves working our abdominal muscles, it is effective in curing disorders of the stomach and getting rid of belly fat

Steps to perform Kapalbhati or Skull Shining Breath

  1. You should first sit erect in a cross-legged position on the ground with your eyes closed. Keep your palms on your knees.
  2. Now take a deep breath in from your nostrils and then exhale forcefully. Your stomach should go deep inside while exhalation. 
  3. Inhalation should be effortless and should automatically happen after every forced exhalation

Also Read: How Does Yoga Help With Stress Relief?

  • Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika Pranayama energizes us and strengthens our abdominal muscles.

Steps to perform Bhastrika Pranayama

  1. You should first sit erect in a cross-legged position on the ground with your eyes closed. 
  2. Take a long deep breath and then exhale and inhale fast around 10 breaths per second. While doing so, make a hissing sound from your nostrils as if you are gasping. 
  3. After around 10 breaths, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply trying to relax. 
  4. Then again continue fast inhalation and exhalation. 
  5. Slowly try and increase the number of fast inhalation and exhalation in 10 seconds.
  • Sama Vritti or Equal Breathing

Sama Vritti is an effective breathing exercise that helps us to get good sleep by calming our mind.

How to do Sama Vritti or Equal Breathing?

  1. Start by lying down or sitting in a comfortable position with eyes closed. Breathe in for four counts and then breathe out for four counts through your nose. This adds a slight, natural resistance to your breath.
  2. You can then try and increase to 6-8 counts per breath.

Also Read: 7 Breathing Exercises That Help Asthma Patients

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing improves blood pressure and heart rate, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. 

How to do Diaphragmatic Breathing?

  1. You should sit comfortably with knees bent and back, shoulder and neck supported on pillows. Place the palm of one hand on the chest and other just below the ribcage.
  2. Breathe in slowly through the nose and feel your stomach moving out with your hand. Then purse your lips and exhale. Your stomach will fall inward.
  • Pursed Lip Breathing

How to do Pursed Lip Breathing?

Pursed Lip Breathing helps to slow down our rate of breathing. It is useful for patients who experience breathlessness.

  1. You should sit or stand and slightly lean forwards. Relax your neck and shoulders. Slowly inhale through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. Then gently purse your lips and exhale slowly through them

Also Read: 7 Different Types of Relaxation Techniques That Help you Fight Stress


About the author

Dr Prachi Garg

A Gold Medallist Physiotherapist from the Maharashtra University
of Health Sciences (MUHS), and also a qualified Dietician who later
went on to establish the “Mera Health Genie Wellness, India” in 2009
with a vision to offer the best remedies possible through the medium
of alternative medicines.
Effectively used Physiotherapy, Diet and Nutrition, Yoga, and
Acupressure to help numerous people recover from an injury or
manage a long term problem, achieving fitness goals, managing
weight and well being.

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