Asthmatic breathing can be really tough and scary to navigate. Here are 3 simple quick tricks to help your challenged breathing let go of you. These quick tricks open up the whole breathing mechanics so your breath has more space and less pressure so it can do a better job of supporting you. As always, be sure you have immediate access to your life-saving inhaler as a back-up measure. That’s really important.
Asthma Breathing Quick Trick One: Move your attention from the in-breath to the out-breath. This sounds easy and it is when your breathing is not challenging. It’s tougher when you’re in the midst of gasping for air. That’s part of why this works so well. It’s a mental trick to help you move your attention onto your out-going breath. All you have to do is notice the out-breath more. I do this by “ignoring” my in-breath and putting my attention gently on the out-breath. There is NO forcing. Forcing or pushing is counter-productive and makes things worse, not better. Gentle wins the race every time.
Asthma Breathing Quick Trick Two: Drill a hole in the tip of your nose! Not really, of course, but in your imagination. You know where your nostrils are; they are on the “underside” of your nose. You can feel the air go in and out of them easily, right? Imagine you’ve drilled a hole the diameter of a drinking straw at the very tip of your nose. It’s not on top, not on the bottom, but a the very tip. Now close your mouth and GENTLY breathe (without any push or forcing) through the “new hole” in your nose. Remind yourself NOT to force this. The idea is to LET or ALLOW the air to come in and out by itself. You’ll notice a rapid reduction in anxiety and an increase in breathing ease in a short time. When you’ve had enough of this idea just let it go. The idea is not to breathe like this forever, it’s to focus your mind and teach your body the mechanics of “gentle” with this mental image.
Asthma Breathing Quick Trick Three: For this one make an agreement with yourself that you won’t inflate your lungs the full amount and won’t deflate them the full amount either. You’ll “under do” this one for best results. Imagine your next few breaths go into your chest to the bottom of your ribs and gently inflate the ribs SIDEWAYS instead of forward and back. The feeling is you’re breathing East to West or side to side, however it’s easier for you to conceptualize. I feel the breath come in, drop to my lowermost ribs and then gently push/expand my ribs apart sideways so I feel WIDER. That’s the idea. Try it a few times to get the knack of it. You’ll get more air in more easily with part of your chest you seldom use. Don’t overdo this one either. Do a few breaths and leave it go until tomorrow or the day after. This is not exercise. Gentle wins–always. The next few times you practice this one monitor your shoulders and your lower back. Avoid the temptation to lift the shoulders and/or to arch your lower back. It’s just a sideways glide/opening of your ribs. Keep it simple, gentle and pleasant.