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How to Breathe Properly

Foram Mehta
Breathing is an activity that we perform all the time. The surprising part is that, many of us could be practicing the wrong breathing pattern. Knowing what the correct breathing pattern is, will help you in knowing if there is anything wrong with you and practicing it regularly will free you from many health problems. Read more...
It is so weird that an activity as mundane and ubiquitous as breathing can be done in a wrong way. Yes! A recent survey says that most of us breathe in a wrong way. As kids our breathing pattern is just right but as we grow up this pattern begins to disrupt because of stress and other health problems.
An incorrect breathing pattern is said to be an indicator of something wrong in your system. And to correct that problem all you need to do is, consciously breathe in the correct way.

First Check How You Breathe

Before giving you the right technique to breathe properly I would like you to first test and check how you are breathing right now.
Either lay down, or stand up, or sit up-right comfortably on a chair and keep your right hand on your stomach and your left hand on your chest. Now, breathe how you would normally. Don't be conscious and don't attempt to change or correct the way you are breathing at that time.
While breathing, observe the muscle movements in your entire body. Pay close attention to how the muscles of your stomach and chest are moving while breathing. Repeat breathing at least 7-9 times.

Ask Yourself the Following Questions

1. When you inhaled where did you start to breathe from (Stomach, chest,..)?

2. How did your stomach and chest move while you were inhaling? 

3. How did your stomach and chest move when you were exhaling?
Answer the given questions in the previous slide and note down the breathing pattern observed.

Breathing Properly: 4-7-8 Breathing

Now that you have an idea as to how you breathe let's now look at how you are supposed to breathe and compare them both.
The correct of way of breathing is by inhaling the air in about 4 counts and it should reach your abdomen. Now hold your breath for 7 counts and then exhale slowly in 8 counts.
These counts are more or less same for everyone and therefore, the correct breathing technique is also known as the '4-7-8 breathing technique'. Now when you breathe in, your stomach will pull inside and your chest will rise outwards. And, when you exhale your stomach muscles will move outwards and your chest will move inwards.
To check if you are breathing correctly or not, place your right hand on your stomach and your left hand on your chest and take deep breaths. You breath should reach your abdomen and then you should slowly exhale it, following the technique given above. Now, if your stomach is rising more than your chest while you breath then you are breathing the right way.
If you were breathing in the way described above then, that's great, you are in a much better position than most of the people. And, if you following the wrong breathing pattern then, consciously practice the above mentioned 4-7-8 breathing technique daily for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Don't exert yourself or else it may end up making you dizzy. Practice it for a short span but do it regularly and gradually increase the time span. Soon you will get accustomed to the right breathing practice and you will breath correctly even unconsciously.
Breathing in the right manner is not just beneficial but an essential activity for you to be able to manage and perform chores efficiently. Incorrect breathing, or shallow breathing leads to many health problems.
It does not allow sufficient oxygen to reach your brain, and can affect its basic functioning. If you are not breathing properly then it also shows up in your sleeping pattern which leads to a chain reaction of spoiling your mood and spirit.
It is surprising but, an incorrect breathing pattern also leads to increase in a person's weight and also decreases immunity.It is surprising but, an incorrect breathing pattern also leads to increase in a person's weight and also decreases immunity.
You may now understand how essential breathing correctly is. Though, there is nothing to worry about if you were going wrong when you took the test, but what is important is that you try to improve your breathing pattern now. Don't give up on it and soon you will get it right. An activity that we take for granted can actually cause serious health problems.
Whenever you are in stress, breathing in the right way can release your stress. Whenever you get time, while at work, or watching TV, or eating food, etc, observe how you are breathing and if it is wrong, then correct it immediately.