A strong, open airway is crucial for proper breathing and vocal function. The good news is that simple exercises can strengthen your airway muscles and improve airflow.
1. Pursed Lip Breathing
The pursed lip breathing relaxation technique can help strengthen your diaphragm and other breathing muscles.
● Sit upright and breathe in slowly through your nose for two counts.
● Pucker your lips like you're going to whistle.
● Breathe out very slowly for four counts through your pursed lips.
● Repeat for several breaths, focusing on keeping your exhale longer than your inhale.
2. Tongue Stretches
Stretching your tongue can help improve muscle tone and reduce airway obstruction].
● Stick your tongue out as far as is comfortable. Hold for 10 seconds.
● Press the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Hold for 10 seconds.
● Stick your tongue out and move it side to side 10 times.
● Stick your tongue out and make circles 10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise.
3. Neck Stretches
Stretching the muscles in your neck can maximize airflow.
● Slowly tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear close to your shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
● Turn your head slowly to look over each shoulder. Hold each turn for 10 seconds.
● Drop your chin down toward your chest. Gently move your head from side to side.
● Lift your chin and move your head back as if to look at the ceiling. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Shoulder Rolls
Rolling your shoulders helps loosen tight muscles around your collarbone and neck for better breathing.
● Lift your shoulders toward your ears. Roll them backward in a circular motion. Do10 rolls.
● Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion. Do 10 rolls.
● Shake out your shoulders when finished.
5. Diaphragmatic Breathing
This deep breathing technique strengthens your diaphragm.
● Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
● Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your stomach press into your hand.
● Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale slowly through pursed lips.
● Repeat for 2-3 minutes. Focus on keeping your chest still and only moving your diaphragm.
6. Lion's Breath
This energizing yoga breathing exercise opens up the throat.
● Kneel on all fours with your hands on your knees. Take a deep inhale.
● Open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and exhale forcefully through your mouth while making a "haa" sound.
● Repeat 5-10 times.
7. Belly Laughs
Laugh it up! Laughing expands your diaphragm and respiratory muscles.
● Take a deep breath and exhale with a hearty belly laugh as if you just heard something funny. Allow your muscles to relax.
● Repeat 10 times. Feel free to think of something humorous!
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