Breathing helps your mind and body relax. Not only does breathing help to relax into a stretch, but it also helps you get the most out of your stretching routine.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “proper breathing while stretching increases circulation, relaxes the body and helps get rid of lactic acid buildup” Read more here: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/wellness/breathing-exercises
Out with the old, stale air and in with new fresh air.
"When you have healthy lungs, breathing is natural and easy. You breathe in and out with your diaphragm doing about 80 percent of the work to fill your lungs with a mixture of oxygen and other gases, and then to send the waste gas out.
Breathe deep. Stretch tall.
A seated breathing exercise
Step 1: Exhale Slowly
Sitting upright, slowly exhale through your mouth, releasing all the oxygen out of your lungs.
Step 2: Inhale Slowly
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Count to four very slowly in your head.
Feel the air fill your lungs slowly until your lungs are completely filled letting the air fill your abdomen.
Step 3: Hold your breath
Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
Step 4: Exhale slowly again
Exhale through your mouth again for the same slow count of four. Expell the air from your lungs and abdomen.
Stay conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs. (like emptying a balloon slowly)
The benefits of good lung health
Not using the diaphragm and lungs to full capacity, the body starts to use other muscles in the neck, back and chest for breathing. This translates into lower oxygen levels, and less reserve for activity and exercise. Like aerobic exercise improves your heart function and strengthens your muscles, breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient. Getting into the habit of breathing properly can help rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and get the diaphragm to return to its job of helping you breathe well.