There are many breathing techniques practiced by singers, wind instrument players, and practitioners of yoga and martial arts. Not only are they useful for your voice, they are also enormously beneficial to your general health. Important: Always inhale through your nose. This increases your Nitric Oxide levels, which dilates your blood vessels, opens your lungs and increases oxygen saturation. High oxygen saturation is important for maintaining energy and an alert, calm mind. Here are two of my favorite breathing exercises.
Square Breathing: This is easy to remember and can be done anywhere without anyone even knowing you’re doing it. This one will calm anxiety and lower your stress level.
1. Inhale through your nose for four counts
2. Hold your breath for four counts
3. Exhale for four counts
4. Hold your “empty lungs” state for four counts.
Repeat several times.
Alternate Nostril Breathing: This technique is called Nadhi Sodana by yogis. One of your nostrils will always be taking in more air than the other. Throughout the day, they alternate in dominance approximately every two hours. If one side stays dominant for too long, nervousness or fatigue can result, as well as the potential for illness. Alternate Nostril Breathing balances brain hemisphere activity.
1. With your right thumb, press the right side of your nose to completely close your right nostril.
2. Inhale through your left nostril for four counts.
3. Immediately press your left ring finger against the left side of your nose, blocking the left nostril completely. Immediately remove your thumb from your right nostril.
4. Exhale through your right nostril for eight counts. (The cycle is now half completed.)
5. Now close your left nostril with your left thumb
6. Inhale through your right nostril for four counts.
7. Immediately press your right ring finger against the right nostril, and release the left nostril.
8. Exhale through your left nostril for eight counts.
The cycle is now complete. Repeat the cycle no more than 3 times. If you want, you can slowly build up, adding one cycle per day until you can do 7 cycles.