The way you breathe affects your emotions and vitality since it sends signals to your autonomic nervous system–a component of the peripheral nervous system that regulates automatic body functions such as blood flow and your heartbeat. Breathing exercises can balance and relax you, leaving you calm and centered. They can also provide an energy boost when you are weary and enliven your mind.
Breathwork for General Relaxation
Carry out this simple mindful breathing technique twice a day to increase calm and tranquility in everyday life. Regular practice will also enhance your ability to focus on tasks, whether they relate to work, hobbies, or meditation.
Begin by finding a comfortable position; seated or lying down. Now inhale to the count of four and out to the same count. As you breathe in, notice cool air entering your nostrils, and when you exhale feel warm air exiting. Practice for 10 or 20 minutes to benefit.
As you inhale and exhale, pay attention only to your breath and the act of breathing. Should unrelated thoughts arise, return to your practice. Carry out the exercise as part of a routine, and you will re-educate your autonomic nervous system to enter a state of calm concentration with ease.
4-7-8 Breathwork for Deep Relaxation
Practice the following breathing exercise twice a day to train your system to relax fast. If you have insomnia and need to sleep or are anxious, you can use this breathwork to achieve deep relaxation quickly.
Exhale through your mouth audibly, so you hear the air streaming outward, and then close your mouth. Inhale through your nose to the count of four before holding your breath as you mentally count to seven. Now audibly exhale via your mouth to the count of eight and repeat the breathing cycle.
Regular practice is essential for this 4-7-8 breathwork because the effects grow with experience. Initially, the impact of breathing to the ratio of 4-7-8 will be subtle and pleasant. Carry out the exercise two times a day, and you will find your breaths become deeper and provide more intense relaxation.
Breathwork for Energy
For greater vitality and alertness practice breathing in and out quickly and evenly through your nose–the count of three seconds inhalation and three for exhalation is a suggested measure. Practice for about 15 seconds total and increase breaths a little daily until a minute of fast breathwork is accomplished with ease. Use the exercise when you experience brain fog or encounter an afternoon slump.
Breath counting is a Zen practice used as a form of meditation. Begin as you exhale by silently counting “one” as air escapes from your nostrils. Inhale naturally and comfortably and then exhale as you think of the number two while breathing at your own pace. The idea is to count upward progressively each time you exhale until you reach five when you return to the beginning and start at one again. Continue for about 10 minutes.
Breathwork is a simple way of teaching your system to become relaxed or energized. Once you are proficient at using the exercises mentioned, you will have valuable tools at your disposal to improve your well-being.
References: Verywell.com, drweil.com, and Energeticsynthesis.com.