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Struggle to grasp a steady breath at times? When we are stressed or going through an emotional time in life, it can be easy to breathe shallow and frantic.
Here are starting steps to grasp a steady breath through subtle techniques and starter breathing exercises.
Before embarking on mindful breathing techniques, such as Taoist breathing or Pranayama; it's a good idea to first nail your normal breathing. This means how you breathe throughout your day and will be breathing for every second and minute of your life.
Breath is the life force energy for everything we are and see. Without oxygen reaching our lungs, we would simply not be living.
You may not realise, along with many others, that we have a tendency to breathe higher up in our respiratory system than we should be. But don't worry... this doesn't mean your lungs aren't receiving enough oxygen, they're simply not reaching their full capacity when it comes to breathing — and this can be worked on!
How To Grasp A Steady Breath - 3 Stages
The Space in Between (Not the movie)
The next step is one we can often forget about completely when breathing. And that is the space/pause between inhaling and exhaling. When taking part in breathing and mindfulness exercises, this is the point many find a place of real internal comfort and you can find it there too!
After breathing in for three seconds, hold your breath for two to three seconds at the pit of your stomach / under your ribs. Do this a few times, and after that try holding even longer to really feel the benefit of oxygen filling your respiratory system. You should feel yourself relaxing and your heart rate slowing. This is a fantastic exercise, if you suffer from high blood pressure, as breath retention is known for its blood pressure advantages.
Visualisation Tip - Picture your breath spreading throughout every area of your body, even down to your blood cells, which receive the oxygen.
Now let's start by getting back to breathing basics to help you grasp a steady breath.
Sit or stand somewhere where you will be comfortable for just a few minutes. The key is to master each of these steps one by one in order for them to become natural. If you're a quick learner, try doing one by one and repeating them all a few times to get to grips with the technique. Once you do that, repeat and repeat until you can do it with no guidance and you'll be breathing in that good prana for the rest of your days!
Now that you're comfy, close your eyes if you wish and picture your nose in your mind's eye. Now begin to inhale for a count of three, flaring your nostrils. Do this a few times until it feels natural; do it with ease.
As you are flaring your nostrils, breathe as deep down into your stomach as possible. Make sure your shoulders don't fly up as you're doing this. If you feel yourself doing this, you may be breathing too much into your chest area, which can make it feel tight. You should feel your stomach protruding out instead, expanding your rib cage and lungs. Again, don't try to push too much, there should be no discomfort.
Visualisation Tip - Imagine a balloon lying around your belly button area, feel it fill up when you inhale.
In the same calm manner as the above steps, begin to work in a deep exhale. When you release after the pause, which is now between 3-7 seconds long. Breathe out of your nose, with non-flared nostrils.
Exhale like you are letting all of the air out of your lungs. Your ribs should scoop back, as well as your diaphragm: kind of like you're sucking in your belly button, but without a lot of force. Make sure you are doing this centrally and you are breathing heavily out of your nostrils.
If you find yourself gasping for air after your exhalation, you may be retaining your breath a bit too long. Try shortening the pause, and lengthening the exhale.
That's the 3 steps to grasp a steady breath. Try repeating the steps individually at least a few times before combining for full effects. Then it's all about taking this steady breathing throughout your day to help calm you.
If you find yourself in a stressful or uncomfortable situation, try mindfully coming back to the steps to restart your emotional state and get you back on track.