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How can I practice proper breathing technique?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
To learn proper breathing technique, I recommend taking yoga lessons-where people focus as much on their breathing as they do on their ability to scratch their heads with their toes.

Below is an exercise that will help you practice proper breathing technique. Remember that your diaphragm makes your lungs move. That's the muscle that pulls your lungs down, so they expand and circulate oxygen throughout the whole lung.
  • Lie flat on the floor, with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Lying on the floor at first when you practice is important, because if you stand, you're more likely to fake a deep breath by doing an exaggerated chest extension rather than letting your lungs fill naturally.

  • Take a deep breath in-slowly. Imagine your lungs filling up with air; it should take about 5 seconds to inhale. As your diaphragm pulls your chest cavity down, your belly button should be moving away from your spine as you fill. Your chest will also widen-and maybe rise ever so slightly-as you inhale.

  • When your lungs feel fuller than sumo wrestler's lunchbox, exhale slowly-taking about 7 seconds to let all the air out.)

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.