Breathing correctly is very important in body and mind relaxation, especially if you are serious about practicing yoga and meditation. It is so easy to not even think consciously about our breathing, but if you do consider it and work on it you could be amazed at the amount of benefits it could bring. Many believe it to be pointless or don’t understand it, but the fact is controlling and managing your breathing can not only help you relax and achieve calmness, but it can help your nervous system, digestive system and lowers your blood pressure. So if you aren’t meditating or concentrating on your breathing habits, here are 5 breathing techniques to get you started to help your physical and mental health.
Sama Vritti or Equal Breathing
Possibly the simplest technique we will discuss here, and best practiced before bed time. This exercise is great for stress or nerves, so if you have a big meeting in the morning give this one a try!
Inhale while counting to four, then repeat the process while exhaling. All breathing should be done through the nose, and once you have been implementing the technique for a while, you can increase the number of seconds slowly.
Ujjayi or Ocean Breath
If you have had an extremely frustrating or irritating day that has left you angry and on edge, then this technique should come to your aid. You could also perform it in the morning.
Inhale much deeper than you would usually do, and then breathe out again through your nose. However during this exercise try and constrict your throat muscles so that your exhale sounds like an ocean wave.
Complete Belly Breath
We all sometimes get anxious and worry about particular situations or problems. This exercise can be great for an overactive imagination. Also try laying down for this one.
Relax your abdominal muscles and rest your hands upon your belly. Inhale deeply and feel your ribcage and abdomen rise, and then once you have reached the peak of inhalation take a pause. This pause can last for a breath or longer if you are used to the technique. To finish, exhale slowly and calmly, contracting your abdominal muscles ever so slightly.
Another great exercise for stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, take five minutes during your day whenever you begin to develop these feelings and worries.
Make sure you are sitting comfortably, and then inhale deeply through your nose. Then exhale slowly through your mouth, making sure to clear your mind and focus on the feeling of the breaths. This might sound simple, but it can produce amazing results. How long you perform this exercise is up to you.
Nadi Shodhana – The Alternating Nostril Breathing
This is another potential technique to try when feeling worried, but it can also be great for fatigue and giving you a much needed energy boost. It also lowers the heart rate, leaving you feeling tranquil. It is also probably the most tricky technique we have covered.
Cover your right nostril, and then inhale deeply and slowly through your left. Once your inhale has reached its peak, block your left nostril and exhale calmly through your right nostril. Once you have fully exhaled, take another deep breath through your right nostril before blocking it and repeating the process over again.