Top 100 Breathing Techniques

Sama Vritti

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Close your eyes, inhale for a count of four through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed
  • Exhale for a count of four
  • Continue this breathing exercise for 10 minutes

Effect:

  • Calms the nervous system
  • Increase focus
  • Reduce stress


Pursed Lip Breathing

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Relax your shoulders and take a normal breath for 2 counts
  • Pucker your lips as if you are whistling and exhale for 4 counts
  • Repeat for 10 cycles

Effect:

  • Improve ventilation
  • Decrease work of each breath
  • Relieve shortness of breath



4-7-8

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Exhale completely through your mouth
  • Inhale through your nose for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8
  • Repeat the last three steps for 4 more cycles

Effect:

  • Regulate breathing
  • Help relax


One Minute Breath

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Breathe slowly for 3 minutes to relax and deepen your breath
  • Inhale slowly and steadily with a deep breath that fills your lungs gradually over 20 seconds
  • Hold the breath for 20 seconds
  • Exhale slowly and steadily for 20 seconds
  • Repeat the last three steps for 3 more cycles

Effect:

  • Coordinates the two hemispheres of the brain
  • Calming effect
  • Reduce anxiety or fear


Breath of Fire

How it’s done:

  • Sit up tall with a straight spine and relax your stomach
  • Breath in and out very quickly through your nose (imagine like the pace of a dog panting where the pace should be 2-3 cycles of breathing in and out every second) pumping your belly in and out with each inhale and exhale
  • Repeat for approximately 1 to 2 minutes

*If you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded, you can slow down the pace

Effect:

  • Release tension
  • Strengthen nervous system
  • Release toxins and deposits in the lungs, mucous lining and blood vessels
  • Improve circulation



Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique

How it’s done:

  • Lie on your back on a flat surface and have your head supported and your knees bent
  • Place one hand on the upper chest and the other on your belly
  • Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose and feel the weight of your hand against your breath
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale through pursed lips (lips leaving a slight opening)
  • Continue this exercise for 5 – 10 minutes

Effect:

  • Strengthen the diaphragm
  • Improve breathing by requiring less effort for each breath


Progressive Relaxation

How it’s done:

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position
  • Take a deep breath through your nose and breathe out slowly, pay attention to the difference in your body between the “squeeze” phase and “relax” phase of the next set of exercises
  • Stretch out legs and point your toes and squeeze all the muscles in your toes for five seconds, and then relax
  • Squeeze all the muscles in your calves for five seconds, and relax
  • Squeeze all the muscles at the top of your legs for five seconds, and relax
  • Squeeze all the muscles in your hands for five seconds, and relax
  • Stretch and reach out in front of you with your arms as far as you can for five seconds, and relax
  • Stretch and reach above you with your arms as far as you can for five seconds, and relax
  • Pull your shoulders so that they are close to your ears and hold for five seconds, then relax
  • Contract and suck in your stomach for five seconds (imagine a huge weight on your stomach), then relax
  • Wrinkle up your face muscles as much as you can, your nose, mouth, eyes, forehead, cheeks, ears and lips. Do this for about ten seconds, and then relax
  • Relax your whole body and feel your whole body go limp. Shift your attention to the slow pace of your breathing

Effect:

  • Relax your body
  • Increase awareness of the difference between the “tense” state and “relaxed” state of your body


Nadi Shodhana

How it’s done:

  • Sit on a meditation cushion or a tall and comfortable seat
  • Relax your non-dominant hand and bring your dominant hand to the front of your face
  • Rest your pointer and middle finger between your eyebrows
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose
  • Use your thumb to close off one nostril (right nostril if right handed and left nostril if left handed)
  • Inhale slowly through the one nostril
  • Close the other nostril with your ring finger so that both nostrils are now closed. Hold your breath for a couple seconds
  • Release your thumb so that you can breathe out slowly through the other nostril. Breathe out a little more than you would normally
  • Inhale through that nostril and hold your breath for a couple seconds
  • Release your ring finger so that you can breathe out slowly through the first nostril. Breathe out a little more than you would normally
  • Repeat this cycle for another 5 to 10 times

Effect:  

  • Improve focus
  • Reduce stress
  • Balances your left and right hemispheres of the brain


Guided Meditation

How it’s done:

  • Load up this video on your computer and/or phone:
  • https://goo.gl/wlyxdR
  • Sit or lie down comfortably and relaxed, and reserve 30 minutes for each of these sessions (remember to turn off or mute your phone)
  • Play the video and let it guide you through the meditation
  • You can find other guided meditation scripts on YouTube or on the web to use for future sessions

Effect:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Improve creativity, motivation and sleep
  • Eliminate self destructive behaviours
  • Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and improve immune system



Kapalabhati

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in an upright position either on a chair or a meditation cushion
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Inhale slowly but deeply through your nose until your lungs feel around ¾ full
  • Exhale quickly and powerfully while pushing slightly back with your lower belly
  • Perform this cycle (the last two steps) for a total of 10 breaths and allow your breathing to return to normal
  • Repeat this cycle of 10 breaths for 3 to 4 times

Effect:

  • Become more alert
  • Warm up the body
  • Energize the body and mind

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What is the best exercise equipment for bad knees?

With a bad knee, you need low impact equipment and even then, you will need to talk to the supplier or gym trainer to teach you how to adjust the tension level. Some of the recommended equipment for people with bad knees are:

1. Stationary bike – This equipment usually has manual controls to adjust the resistance levels. Using the stationary bike will allow you to build up your thighs and abs. The low height stationary bike or what is called the recumbent bike sits you low to the ground and minimizes the pressure on your spine and hips.

2. Free weights – You can use the free weights while sitting down and you can also control your movements and weights of the equipment. However, there are free weights exercises that require you to twist your body – these are the exercises you should avoid. Also, don’t use the kettlebells since it’s a different level of free weights which requires specific movements, balance, and grip.

3. Mini Stepper – There are many kinds of mini steppers in the market. For someone with a bad knee, you need to get the one with the resistance handle so you can adjust the tension simply by changing your grip. Using this will have minimal impact on your knees and still give you a full body workout.

4. Elliptical machine – If you don’t like the idea of the mini stepper, you can use the elliptical machine which serves the same purpose. However, do take care to keep the tension level low so you protect your joints.

5. Strider machine – This is the equipment that does not require you to bend your knees but gives you a great full body workout. On top of all that, the strider is known for tightening the butt exceptionally well when used regularly.

6. Multi gym – This is an expensive piece of gym equipment that gives you a chance to build your lower and upper body and it comes with a wide array of weights from light to heavy.

There are other gym items you can get to augment your program like resistance bands. You should also consider swimming, yoga, and Pilates.

If your knee is in pain, you should try to use a knee sleeve to offer compression during workout.

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Is 1 hour and 45 minutes too long for a strength training/lifting session?

Last April the New York Times came out with an article about 9 minutes being enough for strength training. There is a science to back this length of time for strength training that proves to improve health effectively. The workout consists of 3 sets of 3 minutes each that does not require equipment. However, it must be done at a high intensity level and will strengthen lungs, muscles, and heart.

Based on this article, one hour and 45 minutes is too long if you are not a professional athlete because this is the average work-out session for strength training of a paid athlete during off-season. During the season, professional athletes will only spend a maximum of one hour on strength training. The reason for this is they want to avoid burn-out and fatigue.

Realistically, the length of your strength training should be based on your personal demographics and goals. If you are young and eager, you can train longer but if you are in your 40s, you need to slow down and listen to your body. Other factors include the type of strength training you plan to do. For instance, if you want to build muscle, the actual drills should only last for 20 seconds with around 40 seconds rest time. For endurance, you need to work-out at 30 seconds cycles with 30 seconds rest time adjusting if the intensity increases or decreases. The reason for the rest time is to give your body time to recover from the strain and to build energy for the next cycle.

Based on other scientific research, when doing strength training, always prioritize your most important training goals at the start and allow for longer rest time the higher your intensity level is. Also, keep in mind that strength training is either compound training or isolation training. This means, you chose to exercise a set of muscles or body areas or focus on single goals.

If your muscles are sore after workout, use a foam roller.

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How can I reduce weight and stay fit?

The first rule before you go on a diet is to plan the diet. All experts agree that weight loss must be done gradually to give the body time to adjust. If you lose too many pounds all at once, you will also lose muscle and water while your bone density will suffer.

Nutritionists advice to target one to two pounds a week because a conservative but gradual decrease in weight is easier to track and manage, health-wise than a trending diet with many side effects.

Here’s a simple plan you can use to fashion your own weight reduction program.

First, understand your metabolism. This refers to the internal processes happening inside your body that breaks down the food you eat for energy. As you age, your metabolism slows down. Ideally to lose weight, you have to burn more calories or eat less.

Second, you need to track your consumption and third, you need to start a fitness program.

This means exercise to prevent sagging. Finally, you need to understand your basic motivations. What makes you eat? What will push you to exercise? What triggers a food or drinking binge? What do you need to lose weight?

Once the plan and motivation are in place, the hard work begins. Reduce food high in saturated fat, refined grains, fresh vegetables and fruits (because they tend to encourage cravings) and sugary drinks, and focus on lean protein, whole foods and observe portion eating. If you are a female, never go below 1200 calories (1800 for men) because it will slow down your metabolism.

Don’t expect instant results. At first, you will lose a few pounds a week – and that’s alright! Once your body gets accustomed to your new diet and exercise regimen, the pounds will fall off faster without compromising your fitness level.

If your muscles are sore after workout, use a foam roller.

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How fit can I get by doing push ups only?

In movies and commercials, push-ups are all you need to get fit and look good from head to toe but the reality is far from the hype. Push-ups will develop your upper section more than any other part of your body. It will also strengthen your core but you will get a somewhat distorted fitness program if you rely entirely on push-ups. This is because you are not paying equal attention to the lower section of your body like your legs, hips, and butt. To develop the lower section, you need to do more like lunges, leg exercises, squats and then work on your cardio strength for the complete package.

Let’s study a couple of scenarios.

Scenario 1: What if you did 100 push-ups daily. What would happen?

1. You get stronger but not necessarily fitter.

2. You develop muscle imbalance.

3. You overtrain your upper body.

In addition, you will realize that quantity is not as important as quality because by the time you get used to 100 push-ups a day and keep on for another couple of months, you will stagnate. Your body is not getting stronger because you reached a plateau wherein your muscles have adapted to the stress and becomes unresponsive to improving even more.

Scenario 2: What if you did 10 push-ups daily. What would happen?

1. If you do it first thing in the morning, it will energize you.

2. You will start to see minimal definition in your upper body only after a month.

3. It’s easy to quit because you plateau quickly.

The bottom line is that push-ups alone will get your upper body fitter but will not do if you want to be fit all over. There’s much more to consider from your lifestyle, diet, the rest of your body, amount of rest you get, and daily stress level, to name some of the factors that affect fitness.

If your arm is sore after push ups, you can use a foam roller to ease the soreness.

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Which shoes do you find you can walk with when suffering from extreme nerve pain of the legs and soles of the foot? I tried so many brands, and Crocs will work fine, but not for a Scottish cold and wet winter. What are some tips?

When you have peripheral neuropathy, you experience pain and numbness in your hands and feet. You have to be careful not to fall, get an infection, skin trauma, or burns and you are right to be choosy about your footwear.

Ideally, you should target comfortable, ample support, wider fit to avoid cramped toes, seamless toe area, water resistant with low or no heels if you are a woman. There are special foot for people with this condition and they are not clunky or old-fashioned called neuropathy or orthopedic shoes. These are medical-grade shoes that are made with flexible neoprene fabric upper which will minimize pressure on your forefoot.

Neoprene fabric is water resistant fabric made from breathable synthetic rubber. It performs well under different temperatures so you can use the shoes in any type of weather. Neoprene fabric is the fabric used to make wetsuits, braces, car fan belts, clothing, and laptop sleeves.

Individuals with sensitive feet have to be careful about the following:

· Pointy shoes, high heels

· Tight shoes

· Break in new shoes and wear for an hour maximum

· Use flip flops at home

· Never walk barefeet

· Check for blisters

· Wear breathable, seamless socks like cotton socks and socks with X-static

· Rotate footwear

You should also prioritize flexible, soft shoes with a springy insole and sufficient wiggle room. If you can afford it, order custom made shoes because you can make requests like arch support and custom fit.

Some of the top brands with excellent traction recommended for people with sensitive feet include Ryka, Asics Gel Tech Walker and Quickwalk, Sketchers GoWalk, New Balance walking shoes, and Saucony walking shoes.

Finally, once you find the perfect walking shoe, get a second pair and extra insoles. This way you can replace the insole support regularly keeping your shoes fresh and comfy. However, if store-bought insoles are not a good fit, you can talk to your podiatrist about custom fit insoles.

If your knee area hurts frequently, I would suggest you to get a knee sleeve

Amazon.com: Copper Compression Knee Sleeve Warmer – Support for Joint Pain Relief, Arthritis and Injury Recovery: Sports & Outdoors

Cheers,

Kevin

How can I start running again if I am fat?

If you used to run before the weight gain, then you should know the drill. Start slow and build up momentum and speed gradually. If you have never run before, is it to lose weight, gain stamina, or just let off steam? Whichever situation you are in, you need to get medical clearance first.

Another interesting fact is that many runners are out of shape. One of the reasons is because running exercises the same muscles so your other muscles don’t get much attention. Thus, if you’re feeling conscious about your weight, don’t be.

If you want to use running as a means for losing weight, here are some tips:

· Run longer distances or for longer times. Experts recommend at least 90 minutes per running work-out and not just on flat roads. If you’re short for time, run several times a week and make one run last for at least 90 minutes. Studies show that you double the energy you burn after working out for 30 minutes and after one hour, the energy burns five times more!

· Run with intensity, not leisurely runs

· Run often

In addition, you need to work on the proper form. As a heavy runner, you need to support yourself adequately by running with your chest high, not forward, using your arms to hold you steady by bending them at the elbows at a 90 degree angle, and making sure that when you land, your feet falls directly below your center and not in front. You can also work out first in the gym with a treadmill and a trainer and never run with ill-fitting shoes.

A good idea would also be to run on soft surfaces like grass or unpaved even surfaces instead of cement and roads because a soft surface bounces back causing less risk to joint and leg pain.

Finally, find a partner to run with. It helps to have support before, during, and after a run. Not only do you have someone to encourage you, in case of accident or emergency, your partner can help out, provide tips and assistance, or go get the car, if need be.

If your muscles are sore afterwards, remember to use a foam roller to reduce the soreness.

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Cheers,

Kevin

What is the best way to gain strength fast?

Gaining strength is no easy feat and requires time and patience. However, one common myth is that you have to keep working out – frequently – to gain strength. Not so. In fact, in this case, less is more. There is science behind this theory and I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible.

You will still have to work-out three times a week but the good news is that you won’t have to do all-body strength exercises all those days you are working out.

You will focus on specific muscle groups and you must take each second seriously. In short, less frequent training but maximum efficiency is the formula. It is also important to note that your genes will play a significant role in your strengthening efforts. For example, some people just don’t develop muscle mass no matter how they exercise.

Studies done in the late 1990s show that with efficient training, a schedule of working out every two weeks will still lead to a 26% strength increase – or about the same pace as one who exercises three times a week. One case was untrained women who were made to do leg presses twice a week. After several weeks, their strength gain was remarkably similar to untrained women who trained every day. Both groups increased squat strength by around 28%, improved lean tissue by 2.2%, and achieved bench press strength of up to 30%.

What kind of exercise routine did they use? They did the same routine as everybody else but less frequently! Instead of 5 sets of leg presses and lunges, they only did one set each – and so on for all the other drills. They just made sure that each one counted and was done 100% properly. They significantly reduced the fatigue factor, their bodies were able to recover swiftly, and they were able to function more than adequately for the rest of the time they were out of the gym.

However, be ready to caution yourself against becoming lazy about exercises and understand that every person follows his or her personal pace based on personal demographics and make-up – physical and mental.

If your muscles are sore afterwards, remember to use a foam roller.

Amazon.com : Citrus Fitness 13″ Foam Roller Set: Massage Your Muscles To Feel Better : Sports & Outdoors

Cheers,

Kevin

What are some good lifts for a beginner to start with, using dumbells, barbells, or kettlebells?

Dumbells, barbells, and kettlebells are all free weights and the most common of all weight training equipment because they are relatively cheaper and portable. You get these free weights to help you build muscle and strength, especially core muscles. Free weights are also a good idea if you want to burn calories, improve balance, and help solve osteoporosis woes.

The dumbbells are a good start of all three. They come in several sizes or you can get the adjustable dumbbells. Since they are lighter, it’s a great introduction to free weights for a beginners and training for larger and heavier weights.

Some of the dumbbell drills you can do as a beginner are:

· Standing shoulder press – This drill keeps the weight off your joints and potential shoulder injury

· Squat – all-around strength exercise

· Lateral raise – For shoulder build-up and the coveted V-shape

· Calf raise – Leg strength

You can graduate to barbells once you have mastered the use of the dumbbells, you can start using the power free weights, barbells. Barbells will help you build your six-pack and strength. Here are some common exercises for beginners:

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

· Zercher squat – You support the barbells with your elbows for core, arm and leg strength

· Floor wiper – For shoulders and arms

· Lunge – For leg and core strength

· Hammer jammer shoulder press – for arm and shoulder strengthening

The kettlebells are cast steel or iron weights used to build flexibility, strength, can cardiovascular power. These free weights will help strengthen your tendons and ligaments so you are less likely to get joint injury. You can start using the kettlebells when you start with the dumbbells.

The story goes that originally, kettlebells were used by farmers to measure crops and farmers began to develop their body while swinging them around, so it started a trend. Eventually, the Russians added the kettlebells to their training alongside barbells.

Some of the moves you can do with kettlebells are:

· Goblet squat

· One arm row

· One arm press

· Around the leg press

· Single arm squat

If your muscles are sore afterwards, remember to get a foam roller to roll those muscles immediately.

Amazon.com : Citrus Fitness 13″ Foam Roller Set: Massage Your Muscles To Feel Better : Sports & Outdoors

Cheers,

Kevin

Is it possible for someone who is in decent shape but who hadn’t put on running shoes in over a year to run a half marathon?

Can you win a tournament without training? Sure! It’s not going to be easy but it’s not impossible. However, you cannot do this if you have a pre-existing medical condition or if your doctor refuses to give you medical clearance. The risk is not worth it. First order of the day is getting that medical clearance.

For most individuals who sign up for a marathon or half-marathon without major preparation, it’s usually not your typical spur of the moment decision. The idea crossed your mind already but you didn’t do anything about it. And that’s a good thing because you’ve mentally begun to prepare for the challenge.

Photo by Martins Zemlickis on Unsplash

Here’s what you have to do. With whatever time you have left:

· Start building stamina by eating and sleeping properly. Avoid smoking and drinking.

· The day before the marathon, prepare your clothes, shoes, water, and snack. Eat heavy that day before the marathon and light on the day itself

· Start your run slow. Don’t run or sprint. Take your time. Enjoy the experience. You will probably start to feel the effects on your legs after 3 miles. Listen to your music. Do not try to run with the beat of the music or try to chase after other runners. Keep to your pace. Slow down to a walk if you have to but try to assume your pace after a few minutes. Never push through pain. Listen to your body and give it time to recover by walking.

· Keep drinking. Water is the best way to stay hydrated, not energy drinks because they will give you energy spurts but it’s short-lived and you will come crashing down badly after the effects wear off

Once you see the finish line, go into a sprint and enjoy your finish! However, never stop running once you pass the finish line. Keep going so you don’t shock your system by stopping suddenly. Observe recovery protocol but know no matter what you do, you will feel the strain and pain of running without practice or training. Nonetheless, it will be worth it!

If your muscles are sore afterwards, you can always use a foam roller to roll away the soreness.

Amazon.com : Citrus Fitness 13″ Foam Roller Set: Massage Your Muscles To Feel Better : Sports & Outdoors

Cheers,

Kevin