Easy Breathing Techniques for Relaxation
Living in a state of overdrive may have become the norm for our society, it is anything but normal for our minds and body.
In these times of ever-growing demands and reduced time for relaxation, many people find it hard to “catch your breath” and I mean this literally. When deadlines are coming near, conflicts at home or the workplace are mounting, you may find yourself with a shallow, short breath. This is partly due to the mind’s interpretation of stress as a need to be on guard so our “fight, flight or freeze” system gets activated. In some cases, this can be helpful but when the body hasn’t been able to neutralize, then it can feel quite overwhelming.
Fortunately, we have a tool handy, it’s free and it's in our bodies – all we need is to learn technique!
The breath holds a powerful key to activating our “rest and digest” system which can lower our heart rate, clam the mind and bring feelings of rejuvenation and peace.
In my blog I shared tips for a simple, do-anywhere technique of Long Deep Breathing. Once you’ve mastered that, give these techniques a try too!
To begin, sit in a comfortable space, straighten your spine and slightly pull your shoulders back to expand your chest. Expand your belly with the exhale. While breathing, scan your body for any stress and gently relax those areas. The most important element is going slow with each breath.
Alternate nostril breathing
The process of breathing through alternate nostrils bring balance to your mind and can be really helpful for increasing concentration and focus. This will help reign in those wandering or recurrent thoughts and worries. It’s best to do this in the morning or before a meeting or important conversation, avoid using it before bedtime.
With your hands resting in your lap, bring your right hand’s ring finger up and press it against your left nostril. Then take a slow, deep breath from the right nostril. After your inhale, place your right thumb over your right nostril. Release your ring finger on your left nostril and exhale.
Keep your right thumb over your right nostril and now inhale from the left nostril. Then take your right ring finger and close your left nostril. Take your thumb off your right nostril and exhale that breath being sure to have one complete inhale and exhale from the same nostril before switching.
Whistle breath will improve your lung capacity as well as bring in a feeling of calmness, relaxation and rejuvenation. A beautiful element of this breath is the feeling of air moving through your pursed lips which ushers in the sweet sound of the whistling.
Sitting with a straight spine, close your eyes and bring your attention to the brow point.
With each long and slow inhale, purse the lips and make a whistle sound. Slowly exhale through the nose.
It’s that easy!
“You are alive by breath, you are a product of breath, and your realization is through breath. The moment you are in touch with your breath, the universe pours into you." - Yogi Bhajan