Take a Breath

A regular breath practice is one of the most beneficial things you’ll bring into your world (if you haven’t already).  Below you’ll find 5 different breath practices that you can incorporate into your daily life.  Over time you’ll find that intentional breathing has an unlimited number of benefits.  There is a breath practice for almost everything!

Belly Breathing, Diaphragmatic Breathing

This is the easiest and arguably most important breath practice you can work with.

How to do it:

In a comfortable seated position, you may place your hands on your belly or in your lap. Lengthen through the spine to sit nice and tall and begin to take your breath in as deep as you can. If your hands are on your belly you’ll feel the belly rise and fall. You could do this anytime during your day. Start with sitting and intentionally breathing for 5 minutes during your day. Eventually, you’ll reach the point where you’ll feel frustrations begin to work their way into your body and you’ll immediately resolve them by engaging the breath. If you’re not a regular belly breather, you’ll eventually find this simple tool to be such a powerful part of your world.


2 to 1 breathing, Long Exhale

Taking a long exhale in your breath is extremely calming. In this breath practice, you’ll inhale for a select amount of time, and then draw out your exhale for double the amount of time.

How to do it:

Inhale for 3, exhale for 6. Start wherever you can, maybe just 2:4 seconds for inhale and exhale. Over time you’ll begin working your way up to a long exhale of 10 seconds. This breath forces you to focus on your count while also calming you through breathing. A word of caution though, never inhale longer than you exhale. It’s a very unpleasant experience!

 

Sitali Breath

Sitali is used whenever you need to cool off! Use it in the summer, during menopause, after a tough workout. In this practice, you’ll roll your tongue like a straw and inhale through your tongue. Close your mouth, exhale through your nose. Repeat this breath, noticing the cooling effect it has when you inhale.

How to do it:

In this practice, you’ll roll your tongue like a straw and inhale through your tongue. Close your mouth, exhale through your nose. Repeat this breath, noticing the cooling effect it has when you inhale.

Box Breathing

I love this breath for focus. It requires you to pay attention to your count. Avoid attempting this practice until AFTER you feel comfortable in diaphragmatic and 2 to 1 breath.

How to do it:

For this breath, you’ll work through a count (start with just 3 or 4) for your inhale, hold your breath, count through the exhale, hold without any breath.  All 4 parts of the breath will follow the same count. Repeat this for as long as you feel comfortable, making sure to stop and return to normal breathing whenever you feel like it’s too much.

Nadi Shodhana | Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breath can lower the heart rate and reduce anxiety.  Focusing on the position and movement of your hand will help you keep track of your breath without letting the mind wander.

How to do it:

Take your hand in a fist and let just your pinky and thumb out of the fist. Sit nice and tall, take a big inhale. Use your pinky to cover your left nostril, exhale. With your left nostril still covered, inhale. Switch your fingers to cover your right nostril, exhale. With your finger still over your right nostril, inhale. Switch to cover your left nostril and repeat the whole breath sequence.

 

Bhramari | Bumble Bee Breathing

MY FAVORITE! I’m so excited to share this breath practice with you! Have you ever had a time where you need to just zone out? You needed to shut the world out for just a few minutes and go inside for a little me time? If yes, this breath practice, as silly as it might seem, is perfect for you!

How to do it:

  1. Take both hands in front of you. Separate your thumbs, index and middle, pinky and ring fingers.*

  1. Bring your hands up to your face with your eyes closed. Gently place your index and middle fingers over your eyelids, not pressing, just resting them over the eyes.
  2. Your thumbs will reach back and cover the cartilage of your ears. Again not pressing just gently resting them over the cartilage enough that you’re covering the opening of the ear.
  3. Place the pinky and ring finger over the top of the lips.
  4. Inhale through the nose
  5. Take a long exhale, again through the nose, and create a MMMMMMM vibration with your mouth closed as you exhale.

*I’ve seen the hand position practiced in a variety of different ways, this is how I was taught and how I’ve done it since then.

To make it a little simpler, you can also practice this breath with just your index finger covering the cartilage of your ears.

 

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Washington OM t-Shirt: My OM State

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