Lesson 19: How to Breathe When We Exercise

In addition to the breathing techniques covered in the book we also added a few.

Imagine that there is a candle right in front of you. Place your hands over your stomach so that you can feel your breath expand deep in your lungs and your core muscles work, stretching and flexing as you breathe in and out. Think about your lungs filling with air deep in your chest and focus on moving the hand on your belly instead of your chest rising. As you exhale think about pushing your belly button into your tummy and towards the spine of your back as the breath leaves your body. Take several deep breaths thinking about these things. Next after you take your deep breath in, exhale in 6 quick short breaths like you are blowing out the imaginary candle in front of you with each breath.   As you do this feel how your stomach and core muscles contract and push the air out of your lungs. As you exercise it is important to remember to engage those core muscles while you breathe in and out during your activity. As we exercise our bodies need more oxygen so taking nice deep breaths are better than short quick ones that don’t fill our lungs entirely with air. Also, focusing on breathing helps you keep from holding your breath and keeps your core muscles constantly working to build more strength. A healthy core and stomach muscles are an important foundation for a healthy body.

Guided Meditation Breathing Techniques are helpful to focus on breath and relaxation and are very helpful with stress reduction. You can use videos accessible online like the following one from Quiet Mind Cafe: Guided Meditation . You can sit comfortably in a chair but the best position is to simply lay on a mat or towel on the floor with your arms out at your sides, palms facing the ceiling and feet comfortably shoulder distance apart.

At the end of class I asked the participants who enjoyed the breathing techniques and who enjoyed the meditation.   It is not for everybody and I did have a participant who said he didn’t like it and wouldn’t want to do it on his own. Which is perfectly acceptable! The thing is that we want to take this lesson opportunity to provide the participants with knowledge of as many options and ways to de-stress as possible so that they can chose what is most appropriate and enjoyable for them. As individuals we each have our own preferences which need to be respected and as many as possible options explored so that each participant can find the best fit for them when it comes to how they chose to be healthy. It is also important as a lesson leader that you don’t allow the things that you like/dislike to guide the lesson discussion and activities.