PowerLung Better Breathing - Relieve Shallow Breathing: Yoga for Better Posture

Shallow Breathing - Simple Ways to Relieve Shallow Breathing

A Common Contributor to Shallow Breathing:  Your Posture. 
But You Know That!

When we discover we are shallow breathing we want to find a way to breathe more deeply.  The first, and simplest, thing anyone can do to reduce shallow breathing and improve deep breathing is to "sit up straight", "stand up straight" or lie flat on your back. It is more than just a straight back. You also need to relax; you know kind of loosen your muscles without bending. 

Feel the Difference of Deep Breathing with Straight Posture

The easiest way to see the impact of a straight back on your breathing is to try lying flat on your back and breathing from your abdomen. In the PowerLung User Instructions, one of the tips we give for making sure you breathe abdominally is to lie flat on your back to use a PowerLung. It helps in the relaxation aspect of deep breathing.

3 Easy Ways to Lie Down, Sit Up, or Stand Up Straight!

A simple yoga pose is especially good if you find yourself shallow breathing and slightly tired or tense. Basically, the same pose works for lying down, standing or sitting. Just search the pose name online if you want videos or variations of any pose. My favorite source is Daily Yoga App.

Even just a couple of breaths using one of these poses can help you relax and breathe deeply. For continued, long term results, you need to repeat these regularly. Maybe you can get your second wind for any activity!

Lying Down: Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This is a pose that is common at the end of yoga practice as it allows the body to relax completely after exercise. It's really easy! Here is the basic pose description. 

    1. Lie on your back with legs outstretched. You may want a pillow under your knees if it is more comfortable.
    2. Let your legs spread apart slightly.
    3. Let your feet relax outward.
    4. Let your arms lie straight at your side.
    5. Relax your shoulders down and away from your head.
    6. Let your hands be open with palms facing up.
    7. Relax!  
    8. Now Breathe* 10 deep breaths (about 3 seconds for inhale and 3 seconds for exhale) I usually exhale first to clear out any "stale" air.

See how much easier it is to get a deep breath? It's because your lungs have room to expand and contract with each inhale and exhale. If you watch closely, you'll see your abdomen rising as your lungs expand when you inhale; then falling as your lungs contract and your muscles help push the air out by contracting.

Try to focus on your breath going all the way to your toes (as my yoga app instructs me). One of the things I notice about this is that the more I relax, the more I am doing abdominal breathing, not chest breathing. So, I am really breathing deeper.

Standing: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

When standing, especially for long periods, it just seems like gravity takes over and we "droop". The back curves at the shoulders and possibly a slouch at the abdomen; maybe the chin even drops, and you are leaning forward slightly. If you are already standing, imagine you are a puppet and there's a string at the top of your head helping you pull up without tension. 

    1. Stand up with your back straight and feet about hip-width apart.
    2. Relax your shoulders down from your head.
    3. Keep your arms down to your sides with palms facing forward. 
    4. Relax! 
    5. Now Breathe* 10 deep breaths (about 3 seconds for inhale and 3 seconds for exhale). I usually exhale first to clear out any "stale" air.

Again, I find the more I relax, the deeper my breathing. And if I am continuing to breathe from my chest with long shallow breaths, I relax my shoulders a bit more (release and relax neck and upper back) then abdominal breathing starts to happen. 

We've all can read about the benefits of standing and moving every hour to refresh yourself, help your blood flow and your vision. It's not always possible to go for a short walk so Mountain Pose is a great way to rest your eyes, just standing at your "position", relaxing and breathing deeply.  

Sitting: Seated Mountain Pose (Parvatasana) 

Spending time at your desk, over a keyboard or otherwise slightly folded at the waist and with curved shoulders (slumped over) means you are blocking your breathing and kind of forcing shallow breaths. Try 

    1. Sit, with your hips on your chair, but near the edge.
    2. Position your shoulders over your hips, relaxed down from your head.
    3. Place your feet should be on the floor, under your knees.
    4. Allow upper arms to relax down to your side.
    5. Bend your elbows bent and relax your palms on your thighs or knees. 
    6. Relax! 
    7. Now Breathe* 10 deep breaths (about 3 seconds for inhale and 3 seconds for exhale). I usually exhale first to clear out any "stale" air.

Since I work at a computer most of the time, I try to take a break from the screen after an hour for my eye health. It's easy to do Seated Mountain Pose, refocus my eyes for a moment, relax and breathe. I find I have a bit more energy and deeper breathing for longer after I do this.

Other Contributors to Shallow Breathing

Obviously, posture is not the only thing that contributes to shallow breathing. It is one we can all easily do something about, to the best of our ability. One of the best ways to breathe deeper is to relax and allow the body to become as straight as possible; this frees the breathing muscles to work, with the lungs, to expand and contract to give you more air per breath.

There are many things that can cause us to be Shallow (Chest) Breathers. 

  • Habit
  • Tired or unexercised Breathing Muscles
  • Medical Issues, e.g., lung, chest, spinal, throat, muscle degeneration, diseases
  • General Inactivity
  • Active Aging


In future posts I'll share what I've learned about some of them over the years I've worked for Better Breathing!

Straighten Up! Relax!
Let your body breathe deeply and naturally! 

*For this type of breathing exercise, I, personally, prefer nasal breathing because I have naturally filtered air and it is how most people breathe normally. There are many ideas and reasons for other methods, 

Also, I prefer 10 breaths because over the years, working with PowerLung, I find most people feel a difference in their breathing after 10 good, deep breaths and it doesn't take much time so is easier to do it when you notice your shallow breathing.

Yoga Pose Information Credit: Daily Yoga App





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