Key Takeaways:

  • Deep breathing is effective for reducing stress.
  • Breathing exercises are easy to learn and can be done anywhere.
  • Examples of breathing techniques include Alternate Nostril Breathing, 4-7-8 Breathing, Dolphin Breath, Ujjayi Breath, and Extended Exhale.
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f you're feeling stressed, the best thing you can do is take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing can help you lower your heart rate and calm your body.

If you're looking for more than just deep breathing, though, here are some other techniques that can help soothe your body and mind.

These exercises are easy to learn and incorporate into your daily routine.

While you may think of breathing exercises as being a part of yoga or meditation, you can do them anywhere. You can practice alone or with a partner, at work, or on the bus ride home. All you need to begin is yourself and some space.

Whether you’re looking for something simple to calm your mind and body or want to incorporate these techniques into a larger lifestyle change, these breathing techniques are easy to learn and will come in handy for reducing stress throughout your day.

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing, also known as Nadi Shodhana, is a breathing exercise that involves breathing through one nostril at a time while closing the other nostril with your fingers. This technique is believed to help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve concentration. It is also said to promote a balanced flow of energy throughout the body, improving overall health and well-being.

Here's how to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight and your left hand resting on your left knee.
  • Place your right thumb on your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds, then close your left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale through your right nostril.
  • Inhale through your right nostril, then hold your breath and switch fingers, closing your right nostril with your right thumb.
  • Exhale through your left nostril, then inhale through your left nostril, and continue alternating for a few minutes.

This practice is best done early in the morning before getting out of bed or just before bedtime at night. It's also helpful when you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious during your day-to-day activities.

2. 4-7-8 Breathing (aka Relaxing Breath)

This exercise is especially useful when you’re feeling stressed out. When we get nervous or anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and quick, often making us feel more tense. By practicing the 4-7-8 method of breathing, you can slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles.

This breathing exercise, developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, is believed to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Here's how to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet on the ground.
  • Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8, making a whooshing sound.
  • Repeat the cycle 4 times.

3. Dolphin Breath

Dolphin breath, also known as ocean breath or ujjayi pranayama, is a breathing technique commonly used in yoga.

It involves inhaling deeply through the nose, then exhaling slowly while constricting the back of the throat, creating a sound similar to the sound of ocean waves. This technique is believed to help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve concentration. It is also said to strengthen the respiratory system, improving overall lung capacity and function.

Here's how to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight and your hands on your knees.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale forcefully through your nose, pulling your navel towards your spine.
  • Allow your next inhale to happen naturally, then repeat the forceful exhale.
  • Continue for a few minutes, gradually increasing the speed of your exhales.

4. Ujjayi Breath aka Ocean Breath

You’ve probably heard of ujjayi breathing, but maybe you haven’t tried it. If you’re new to yoga or meditation, this technique can help you calm down and feel more centered.

Ujjayi breath is a deep breathing technique used in yoga that involves inhaling and exhaling through the nose while constricting the back of the throat, creating a sound similar to that of ocean waves. This technique is believed to help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve concentration. It is also said to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation.

Here's how to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight and your hands on your knees.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, making a "ha" sound.
  • Inhale again through your nose, this time making a slight constriction in the back of your throat so that your inhale makes a soft "ocean" sound.
  • Exhale again through your mouth with the "ha" sound.
  • Repeat for a few minutes.

5. Extended Exhale

The extended exhale is a breathing technique that involves extending the exhale to a longer duration than the inhale. For example, you may inhale for three seconds and exhale for six seconds.

This technique is believed to help calm the nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation. It can also help to regulate the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and improve overall lung capacity and function.

Here's how to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight and your hands on your knees.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of 4.
  • Exhale slowly and evenly through your nose for a count of 8.
  • Repeat for a few minutes, gradually increasing the length of your exhales.

If you want to take what you learned and put it into action,

check out our class Breathwork Techniques for Healing and Meditation where you can practice several types of breath work techniques to improve relaxation and calm your body & mind.

Apr 24, 2023
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Health
 category
Posted