Breathing With Purpose


Types Of Breathing

We breathe without thinking but in our personal development it’s good practice to think about and focus on our breathing. Breathing with purpose is important to our general well-being as well as our spiritual development and ability to connect.

There are many types of breathing, deep, heavy, light, rhythmic, circular, mindful… all of which serve a purpose, such as playing a musical instrument, bringing courage, calming the mind and body, gaining clarity, relieving anxieties and insomnia, meditation, and of course, our physical and mental health.

There are a few categorised methods of breathing that are available to us in our every day lives, with practice, and those are:

Clavicular/Shallow Breathing: This type of breathing is shallow breathing and is one that we are all in the habit of doing, without even realising it. It not at all helpful for blood circulation and oxygen levels, which in turn leads to some health concerns, like poor circulation, shortness of breath, dizziness.

Diaphragmatic/Deep Breathing: This type of breathing is deep breathing and brings the air into the deeper parts of the lungs and helps with blood and air circulation. If when you breath you see your belly rise and fall, that means you are diaphragmatic breathing, breathing from the abdomen. Some folks find deep breathing to be an unusual thing because to deep breath is t expand the belly and having a big belly is seen as not cool in certain circles, so most don’t do the deep breathing and stick to the shallow/clavicular breathing. One thing to remember is, if you want better circulation of blood and oxygen in the blood, your gonna need to expand that belly to get that breath in deep!

Complete Breathing: As the name suggests this is a breathing exercise that requires us to take in a breath that fills up all of our lungs, lifts the diaphragm and the chest and fills us fully. It helps us to calm our nerves and relax us, it helps to get the oxygen pumping properly and reduces the heart rate, so, next time you find yourself in a bit of a panic about something and your heart is racing, take a nice big breath in through the nose as deep as you can get it. Feel your belly expand and your chest rise and fill out, hold it a few seconds and then let it out nice and slowly. Usually repeating it three times is when we notice it taking affect on us.

To know if you claviculary (shallow) breathe, put one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen and breathe. If the top hand rises you shallow breathe, if the lower hand raises then you breathe abdominal, or deep.

Breathing to HelpBreathing

There are a few exercises available for us help us with Anxiety, Sleeping, Focus and Concentration. The exercise below is one that I personally use when my anxiety levels spike when I can’t relax enough for sleep, when I need to clear my head and when I need to return to the present moment. I’ve written it in an easy to understand straight forward way that will make it easier to understand and practice yourself;

Before getting to the breathing part, you’ll want to make sure sure body gets a little unwound. To do this you can:

Lift your shoulders up and down three times. Up, down, up, down, up and down.

Then you want to make sure your neck and jaw are nice and relaxed, so, where possible, rotate your head left 3 times and then again right three times. Be careful not to do it to quick or you’ll end up dizzy, which is what we don’t want.

Then if you’re able, tilt your head towards your shoulder 3 times each way

Finally, loosen your jaw. You don’t have to sit or stand agape, but, just be aware that your jaw isn’t pressed to tightly shut.

I am aware that some of us may find these exercises a little difficult, so in that case, you do what you feel you are capable of. The aim is to get you as relaxed as possible.

You can either sit upright or you can lie down, whichever you are comfortable with, you can also do this standing up too, just make sure you have your feet firmly on the floor when sitting or standing.

Breathe into your belly, through the nose, as deep as you can go, but without forcing it, and hold it for the count of 4, and then let it out slowly through the mouth.

Repeat again, going in as deep as you can, holding for 4 and then letting out slowly.

Do this 3 times in a row and then return to your regular breathing. You should notice a change in how your breathing as slowed, your belly has relaxed, your shoulders have loosened and you feel lighter.

This exercise can be repeated as little or as often as is required. If you feel light headed doing the inward breath and holding it, just breathe as deep as you can and let it out slowly, return to your normal breathing and try it again. You can also count on the in breath for 4, while holding it and then again on releasing it. There’s no concrete method, it’s about controlling the breath and calming ourselves that’s important.

You can put some music on and do it along with the beat, or you can put some guided meditations on that cover breathing exercises, or you can do it quiet. The point is, you can do it anywhere, at any time, you don’t have to be stuck indoors or waiting outside to get back indoors for it to work, we breathe everywhere we go anyway, so it makes sense tat we can adopt a breathing exercise that works best for us while we’re on the move.

Give it a try and see how you get on with it. I’d love to hear how you get on, or if you have any methods you use yourself.

Love and Blessings,

Stuart Kelly Insights




*As a footnote, it is advised that you work in conjunction with any health care providers as and when required.*

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