In this exercise, I alternate between forward (normal) breathing and reverse (paradoxical) breathing. The exercise improves my breathing diversity and my ability to maintain balance.
How I exercise ‘reverse–forward breathing’:
- I sit comfortably with a straight back, relax my tongue and jaw, and close my eyes.
- Reset my breathing if needed.
- Breathe diaphragmatically and exclusively through my nose.
- For two counts, inhale, inflating to maximum diaphragm amplitude.
- For four counts, exhale; my diaphragm returns to its neutral dome shape.
- For two counts, inhale, engage my abdominal muscles, push my stomach backward towards my spine.
- For four counts, exhale, releasing my abdominal muscles, my navel moves away from the spine, and my diaphragm moves to its neutral dome shape.
- Hold my breath until I gently reach the point of ‘air hunger start.’
- Repeat for a few rounds.
On Steps 3 and 4, my breathing reverses; my stomach moves as if I’m exhaling when I inhale. The breath-holds that follow prevent me from getting into a hyperventilation state.