5 Gymnastics Breathing Techniques
Here are a few breathing techniques to start training your brain and body to do what you need them to do.
- Deep breathing. A simple way to calm your body and mind is to breathe deeply and slowly. Inhale for a count of five, pause, and exhale for a count of five. As you breathe, try to relax your jaw and forehead, allow your shoulders to drop, and release any tension in your back or belly. Practice for a few minutes or until you feel centered.
- Belly breathing. Diaphragmatic or belly breathing slows your heartbeat and can lower blood pressure. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor. Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Take a deep inhale through your nose—the hand on your belly will sense your stomach expanding. Tighten the muscles in your abdomen as you exhale through your mouth. Practice for five to ten minutes, or aim for a certain number of complete breaths.
- Extend your exhale. If you’re nervous, try making your exhale twice as long as your inhale. Inhale for a count of four and then exhale for a count of eight.
- Synced breathing. Slowly lift your arms as you inhale. When you exhale, lower your arms. Repeat. The movement should be in sync with the breath in a relaxed and easy manner.
- Spot focus. This exercise is also a breathing technique that will help hone your concentration skills. Sitting with your spine straight, shift your attention to the movement of the breath. Choose a part of the body that is easy to sense—it can be the movement of the belly, the rise and fall of the chest, or even the feeling of the air as it passes through the tip of the nose. Then really focus on this one part of the body. Set a timer for a few minutes. Whenever your attention wanders, refocus your attention on that part of the body. With time, you’ll find that your attention wanders less often and your power of concentration is sharper.
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