(The Best Years in Life)
Summertime is many people's favorite time of the year, but for some people
summer means overheating, exhaustion from outdoor work projects and trying to
keep up with the kids, and asthma and allergy attacks. Take control this summer
with one simple change: change the way you breathe. From stimulating breaths
when you need a pick up to cooling breaths when you need to cool down, you can
control much of your summer experience with breathing exercises. Research even
shows that people can reduce their dependence on asthma inhalers and allergy
meds with Buteyko breathing, a simple and counterintutitive breathing style that
could give you fewer attacks as well as more energy and less anxiety.
Cooling Breath to Beat the Heat
If you've never been to India during the summer, rest assured that it is hot.
Yoga practitioners have been using a technique called sheetali pranayama to
reduce their body temperature for long enough to know that it works. To do this
breathing exercise, sit comfortably and rest your hands on your thighs with your
thumbs and index fingers touching. This is known as a chin mudra. Roll your
tongue by curling the sides up and place the tip of your tongue between your
lips. In a mirror, your tongue should make a “U” shape. If it helps, imagine a
straw resting on the center of your tongue and the sides curling up against it.
Inhale through your mouth as if sucking air in through an imaginary straw.
Breathe out through your nose. After 5 to 10 breaths, you should feel cooler. If
you cannot roll your tongue, make a small “O” with your lips and breathe air in
that way. Use this breathing exercise anytime you feel too hot.
Energizing Breath for a Quick Pick Me Up
Longer days and warmer weather make summer the season to be outdoors. Whether
hiking, biking, fixing the deck, building a shed, or just chasing after your
kids, you will no doubt have need of more energy during summer. Enter the
stimulating breath, another yoga breathing exercise to the rescue. This
technique raises vital energy and makes you more alert.
Close your mouth without clenching your jaw and take short, quick breaths in and
out of your nose. The time of inhalations should equal the time of exhalations.
Aim for three complete breaths per second, but only for 15 seconds. As you get
better at the stimulating breath technique, you can try it for up to 60 seconds,
but progress gradually.
Buteyko for Allergies and Asthma
As strange as it sounds, deep breathing may trigger asthma and allergy attacks.
Over-breathing can cause many problems, leading to swollen and irritated airways
that are more susceptible to problems.
If you've ever hyperventilated, you know that taking in too
much air is anything but relaxing. Buteyko breathing teaches you to take shallow
breaths through the nose, which oddly may cause you to need to breathe less.
Although you should learn from a teacher, you can get a taste of Buteyko
breathing by sitting straight and putting your finger under your nose where you
can feel air as you exhale. Each time you feel air hit your finger, inhale. This
causes you to take many shallow breaths. If you start gasping for air, slow it
down. Don't try to do more than a few minutes. Training in Buteyko takes time to
master, but may lead to a more pleasant, calmer summer. Find a teacher through
the Buteyko Institute of Breathing & Health (BIBH).
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the
fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse
University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group
exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy.
Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel,
Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's
Natural Healing Tips
blog or join her on
Sarka-Jonae Miller's "Between Boyfriends eBook"
When "the one" breaks her heart, Jan vows to change.
Read the book Hollywood & Vine magazine says "presents a unique
twist on the chick-lit genre."
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