If you are like most people, you do not think of your breathing. I am finding that more and more people are breathing inefficiently. This means you are probably taking shallow chest breaths rather than belly or diaphragmatic breaths. During proper breathing our bellies should expand (the diaphragm drops down to create space for the lower lungs to fill with air) and fill the imaginary cylinder around your core.
We need to remember the diaphragm is a muscle and if does not do its job, the muscles in the upper chest and neck will take over. This can lead to headaches, hand numbness and back pain.
Try these techniques and pay attention to how you feel.
Box Breathing: this is a very simple exercise that I picked up from Mark Devine from sealfit.com.
Inhale through nose for a 4 count, hold breath for a 4 count, exhale through mouth for a 4 count, and hold the empty for a 4 count. Repeat for 2 to 10 minutes.
Wim Hof breathing: this one is a little more difficult but very effective. Wim Hof is a multiple world record holder for sitting in ice baths (close to two hours in a tub with 700kg of ice).
1. 30 “power breaths”; breathe in fully through nose, breath out without force and hold until gasp reflex.
2. Breath in fully through nose, hold 10 seconds
3. Repeat 1-2 cycles.
Try each technique, see which one you like and add that to your beginning/end of day routine or your relaxation/meditation time.