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What are Different Breathing Techniques?

By Patti Kate
Updated: Feb 20, 2024

Various breathing techniques include everything from those commonly used in yoga practices to techniques employed by athletes and methods taught in natural childbirth classes. Many breathing techniques are used for relaxation of the mind, spirit and soul as well as the body. Diaphragmatic breathing techniques are used by some individuals who suffer from extreme anxiety. In this form of breathing exercise, the individual learns the proper way to breathe through the diaphragm or stomach muscles, rather than the usual way of breathing through the nose and mouth.

Lamaze classes teach relaxation and breathing exercises for expecting mothers. To reduce pain without the aid of medications during labor, the patient will typically employ a certain type of breathing technique that helps her focus. In many cases, the woman's partner will participate with her, acting as her coach.

Transcendental meditation (TM) utilizes a breathing technique that is generally considered simple for many individuals to perform. The concept behind this technique is slowing the heart rate down. In the method of TM, meditation takes place for approximately 15 to 20 minutes a day. The method or approach is to concentrate on the breathing, becoming aware of each breath that is inhaled and exhaled. It is designed to enhance both mental and physical well-being.

The yoga breathing technique is designed to circulate and replenish the essential element of oxygen to the body. There are various principles in yoga breathing techniques, and each of these employs a specific purpose. These techniques are meant to be done gradually so the individual builds up to a tolerable level. Some individuals may experience health risks or symptoms if they start out too quickly, which is why it is generally recommended to have a qualified instructor guide the novice.

Many professional sports athletes find breathing techniques helpful. Techniques designated for runners involve inhaling or exhaling before beginning a race. Swimmers often use a specific type of diaphragmatic breathing.

Professional singers perform a specific type of breathing technique that helps them with their vocalization efforts. The control they use is designed to help them endure and suffer less fatigue during a performance. Deep breathing in conjunction with other exercises help vocalists focus as well. Many professionals take classes to learn this technique properly.

There are certain breathing techniques recommended by pediatricians to be performed on children. These should always be done under a parent's supervision. Techniques such as 'belly breathing' are used to help soothe or calm a child experiencing anxiety or restlessness. There are books and classes available that are dedicated to helping parents teach their children this technique.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On May 02, 2012

@irontoenail - I think if you just keep going with the deep breathing, making sure that you're breathing fast enough and trying to keep yourself calm, your body will eventually get the idea.

You must be psyching yourself out whenever you start, possibly getting nervous even, which makes you want to breath fasting anyway.

Meditation breathing techniques are definitely worth trying, and are particularly good for you if you have a stressful job or something like that. Just taking out 20 minutes or so per day to breath deeply and sit quietly can make a lot of difference to someone.

It might help if you went to a class or something though. That way you would be guided through the meditation and you will be less tempted to give up if it doesn't work at the beginning of your session as well.

I think if more people did some form of meditation every day, there would be a lot less illness in the world.

By irontoenail — On May 01, 2012

Whenever I've tried to do meditation or some other kind of breathing relaxation techniques, it has always backfired on me.

I'll start being too aware of my breathing and even though I'm trying to carefully slow it down and take deep breaths, it will start feeling like I'm not breathing enough.

My lungs will start to want to gasp for air, or maybe to yawn a lot, which is stupid because if anything I'm breathing in more oxygen than I was a few minutes ago.

Even just thinking about my breathing brings it on, so I think it's entirely psychosomatic but I'm not sure what to do about it. I've heard from quite a few places how good it is for you to learn how to "breath properly" and take deeper breaths and meditate.

I'd love to be able to do it, but it never feels like I'm really in control and it makes me not want to fiddle around with my breathing at all.

By umbra21 — On Apr 30, 2012

You know, I always thought that those Lamaze breathing techniques classes for expectant mothers were just a fad that was perpetuated by the media, just because it's an easy way to show mom and dad getting ready for a baby together.

But, I've been exercising a lot lately and I've noticed that when I'm doing weights or dynamic stretching I do tend to hold my breath a lot.

I guess it's a natural response for some reason, but it's something I'm trying to stop, since big, deep breaths during stretches and strength training is important to oxygenate the muscles while they're working.

It's probably the same thing when someone is giving birth. Except with everything going on, holding your breath in order to push could be dangerous and could tense up all your muscles.

If I ever get pregnant I'm definitely going to go to one of those classes.

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