If you ever find yourself in the midst of a panic attack or stressful moment, try taking a deep breath — no, a really deep breath. All of the yogis out there will already know what I'm talking about since deep breathing is an integral part of yoga.
When I say "deep" what I'm really referring to is your diaphragm (the large muscle right below your lungs) because rather than up and down breathing, what you're really trying to achieve is in and out breathing. When you take a deep breath, you are expanding the lungs, pressing down the diaphragm, and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. This is not only good for reducing tension, but it may also help with diseases that inhibit breathing, like emphysema.
According to Psychology Today, diaphragmatic breathing calms you down, rapidly and effectively, and is an immediate stress buster. For athletes and runners, it's good to get in the habit of breathing this way, since it will help you take in lots of oxygen during physical activities, hopefully preventing dizziness and nauseousness.
Here are some steps to follow when deep breathing.
- Start by lying down and putting a magazine on your stomach.
- Make sure you expel all your air, excelling completely, and then slowly raise the magazine as you inhale. I usually say one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand and so on until I get to five thousand so that I inhale for five nice long seconds.
- Exhale the same way, counting down, slowly from five until the magazine goes down.
- You can also use your hand instead of a magazine, so that you can feel the same effects as well as try it sitting or standing up.