Anything of value that we accomplish in life requires an investment of energy. In order to be healthy and have an abundance of energy, you must first understand the power of breath. While we all know that breathing is of the utmost importance, we may not fully realize how significantly the way you breathe determines your health. If you struggle with any health issue, you may wish to first read the post on The Power of Breath.
By improving your breathing and, therefore, the health of your body and mind you will also find that the amount of energy you have will increase significantly. I have three recommendations (in addition to getting some aerobic exercise). You will be able to skyrocket your energy with these breathing exercises.
1) If you want to improve your health, the simplest way to do this is to make some time every day to simply take a few deep, diaphragmatic breaths. That’s all there is to it. This may sound too simple, yet doing so can bring about profound change in your health and energy levels. There is more than enough research to fully support this, but to experience it, simply give it a try.
2) Whenever you think about it, or have a few minutes (such as waiting in line), pay attention to your breath and ask yourself, “Am I breathing well?” Short, shallow breathing (from your rib cage) is necessary, occasionally. For the most part, you want to breathe deeply, from your diaphragm. There is a plethora of studies proving the clear link between deep breathing and health. Periodically checking in with your breath will create a new habit of breathing well, breathing from your diaphragm.
3) I have a 5 minute breathing routine which I do 2-3 times every day. Of these 3 recommendations, this will have the greatest impact on your energy and health. Even if you only do this once a day, you will be amazed at how your energy levels will explode. While sleeping, your rib cage often gets compressed, restricting flow of oxygen to parts of your lungs (in fact, some lung cells will actually die off due to never receiving oxygen). I do a set of 3 exercises to fully re-open my rib cage (allowing the lungs to expand completely while breathing in and, therefore, increasing the intake of oxygen) and to activate my lymphatic system.
The three exercises are:
Exercise 1: Take 5 breaths with a ratio of 1:4:2 (inhalation, holding, exhalation). So, for example, if you breathe in for 4 seconds, you would hold it for 16 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds (4:16:8). If you breathe in for 6 seconds the ratio would be 6:24:12. You should not strain yourself while doing this, though you should breathe slowly and deeply. Do this sitting down because, especially at first, you may feel dizzy for a few moments. This will be followed by a surge of energy.1
Exercise 2: Sit comfortably in a chair. Breathe in and out quickly like a dog panting for a few seconds. Then, close your mouth and continue through your nostrils. Do this as many times as you comfortably can. You should imitate the motion of an automobile piston: rapidly inhale as much as you can and then immediately blow it out quickly and completely. This exercise will bring stagnating cells back to normal functioning. At first you may only be able to perform ten or so of these breaths. With repetition you will be able to increase the number of breaths significantly and, in turn, significantly increase the positive effects on your health.2
Exercise 3: Stand flat against a wall so that your heels, lower back, shoulder blades and back of your head are touching the wall. Raise your arms straight out in front of you so that your fingers are level with your shoulders, with your thumbs touching. Then, as slowly as possible, breathe in. As you breathe in, keeping your arms straight, raise your arms up and over your head until the backs of your hands touch the wall. Hold for a few seconds. Then, while you exhale as slowly as you can, lower your arms out and down along the wall to your sides. Throughout this exercise, your arms should follow your breath. Do this twice. You should not strain yourself, but it is important to breathe slowly and fully.2
Exercise 1 is from “Personal Power II” by Anthony Robbins
Exercises 2 & 3 are from “Touch of Life: The Healing Power of the Natural Life Force” by Dr. Robert Fulford