“Just pay attention to your breath, anything you wish can happen.” – Sadhguru
Breathing is the most taken for granted function of our body.
It is something we have never had to make an effort to learn. It is an ongoing process that happens on its own no matter whether we are awake, asleep, or even unconscious.
Our breath is capable of much more than just keeping us alive. And once we understand the true potentials of our breath, we can truly wake to a much-elevated level of awareness.
These breathing exercises and Pranayama techniques will help you to calm your mind instantly or less than 10 minutes.
How Breathing Exercise Works?
In the Yogic Culture, breathing exercises are termed as Pranayama.
The word Pranayama comprised of two words – prana and Yama. Prana is the vital energy or life energy and Yama means to control or take charge.
At the initial phase, Pranayama or breathing exercises change our breathing patterns. Slowly, it starts working on our mind and once our body and mind become robust, the journey of spiritual upliftment starts.
In several phases of yoga, pranayama act as a guiding light.
“When the mind is agitated, change the pattern of breath.” – Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
Benefits of Breathing Exercises
It’s indeed incredible to learn how the same breath that we mostly don’t even pay attention to can turn into the elixir of life.
Deep breathing is vividly used as a part of meditation to treat depression, anxiety and mental stress.
Practicing breathing exercise regularly can –
- Boost calmness and relaxation
- Detoxify your body and mind.
- Revitalizes your blood and enhance immunity
- Relax your mind and bring clarity
- Help your brain to function better
- Enhance your mood by releasing stress, tensions and negative emotions
- Eliminate 70 percent of your body toxins
- Promote oxygen supply to your brain to boost creativity and mental efficiency
- Replenish the cells which help in developing lean muscles, thereby resulting in increased muscle strength
- Promotes better digestion, and increases lung capacity
- Nurtures each and every part of our internal organs
Deep breathing also keep your motivation energy higher which is necessary needed to boost your daily performance.
So, schedule your time for deep breathing as you schedule your most important task of the day.
Just sit aside for 10 minutes and take a deep breath to relax.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Stress
If you think breathing exercises would be easy?
Try taking a couple of deep breaths in and out.
After a few breaths, you will feel tired. And if you push yourself too hard, chances are that you would begin to sweat or even feel breathless.
Even though the process of breathing takes place effortlessly in our bodies when we are alive.
But when it comes to breathing exercises or Pranayama, we need to train our breath to train our mind and body with this one-minute meditation technique.
Here are 5 easy-to-do breathing exercises for beginners to initiate yoga or spiritual journey in a much smooth manner.
1. Equal Breathing or SamaVritti
Anger, anxiety, and stress result in a shallow breathing pattern.
It leads to reduction of oxygen supply into the brain and other parts of the body. As a result, it fails to carry out its vital functions.
Equal Breathing helps to develop a balance that tranquilizes our nerves.
How to Practice Sama Vritti?
Sit in a meditative pose and observe your natural breath for a while. Then begin by breathing upto a count of 4 and then hold the breath upto next 4 count.
People who are suffering from a heart ailment, respiratory tract disorder and hypertension are advised not to hold the breath.
Beginners can breathe up to a count of 3 or even 2 as per their comfort level and practice Sama Vritti without holding the breath.
2. Belly Breathing
The most trusted breathing exercise for stress, belly breathing is a very basic breathing exercise.
Apart from treating stress and anxiety, it also helps you to get rid of physical fatigue. Practice it as the first thing in the morning to relieve the stiffness of your body and clears up clogged passages.
How to Practice Belly Breathing?
Sit in a relaxed posture or lie down.
Keep one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Now start taking a slow and deep breath through your nose in a way that the hand on your belly is pushed forward but the hand on your chest remains still.
After 5-10 rounds of deep belly breathing, you will start noticing the calming effects on your mind and body.
3. Anulom-Vilom Pranayam
Anulom-Vilom or Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is another breathing exercise that balances the sun element (Pingala Nadi) and the moon element (Ida Nadi).
It nourishes the pranic (Life) energy that flows through the Ida and the Pingala Nadi which in turn revitalizes the Sushumna Nadi, situated in between the Ida and the Pingala Nadi regular.
The practice of Anulom-Vilom helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, thereby, nourish the entire nervous system.
How to Practice Anulom-Vilom?
Sit in sukhasana or meditative posture with spine erect.
Beginners should do at least 21 rounds of Anulom-Vilom. People with cardiac problems or hypertension should avoid holding the breath.
4. Brahmari / Humming Bee Breath
Imagine a bee buzzing right close to your ears. Indisputably, it won’t be a pleasant experience.
However, the same humming or buzzing noise when created consciously with your eyes and ears closed, coordinated with your breath, creates wonders for your nervous system.
Going by the Hatha Yoga Pradapika, Brahmari Pranayama flows waves of ecstasy to your mind.
If you are a new yogi, then know these useful tips to prepare for your first yoga class.
How to do Brahmari Pranayama?
Sit with your spine erect. Keep your mouth closed with your teeth slightly apart.
Take a deep breath and while breathing out through your nose. Make the sound of the humming bee through your nose.
Do this 5 times and sit in complete silence, feeling the vibrations created by the humming sound.
Release your hands to rest on your knees and feel the vibration throughout your body.
5. 4-7-8 Breathing
Do you feel difficulty to fall asleep?
Then this breathing techniques is best for you. This one, promise you to fall asleep in just one minute.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique has a deep, relaxing, and rhythmic pattern that tranquilizes the nerves and helps the practitioners to sink into a deep slumber.
It is particularly helpful for managing anger, anxiety and stress. And often clubbed with other therapeutic and meditative practices.
It claims to have better results than an anti-anxiety drug.
How to Practice 4-7-8 Breathing?
Sit comfortably on a chair or with your legs criss-crossed.
Keep the tip of your tongue rested on the tissue at the back of the top front teeth.
Exhale to empty your lungs completely, inhale through your nose up to a count of 4 seconds and hold your breath upto a count of 7 seconds.
Apply a little force while breathing through your mouth, making a sound of ‘whooosh’ for 8 seconds.
At initial stage, practitioners are likely to feel a little light-headed. Hence, advised not to practice while standing.
But after a few days of practices, if you still feel dizzy, then its better to discontinue the practice.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to thoughts. Whenever your mind become scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Our breathe is one of the most powerful defense system to save us from our daily life stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Let’s use this power to calm down our life energies and make them work for us.
Once you learn the art of inhaling and exhaling, you will feel this world a better place to live.
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