three breathing exercises
While breathing is part of everyday life, we are mindful that breathing doesn’t come easily for everyone and that breathing programs may or may not benefit all individuals. We invite people to begin their breathing practice from where they are. By recognizing how the breath feels as it comes in and out of the body - how it feels as it comes in through the nose, into the chest and belly and how it flows out through the nose or mouth. To observe and experience how breathing naturally feels. Just by bringing awareness to our breath, we can begin to reconnect with ourselves, our bodies, and the present moment.
For those who feel comfortable and would like to explore other types of breathwork, there are a number of breathing exercises to try.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, or belly breathing is when air coming in through the nose and fully fills the lungs, and the lower belly rises.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — allowing oxygen to come in and carbon dioxide to go out. This can slow down the heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure and relax the body.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back supported or lie down.
- Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach, above your belly button.
- Breathe in through your nose, noticing your stomach rise. Your chest should remain relatively still.
- Exhale through your mouth, engaging your stomach muscles to push air out at the end of the breath.
Repeat for a couple of breath cycles or for as long as you need.
Here are two other breathing exercises to try that include deep breathing:
2. Wim Hoff Breathing Exercise
Get in a comfortable sitting or lying position. Ensure that you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction.
- Inhale deeply through the nose
- Let out a relaxed exhale through the mouth
- Repeat for 30 breaths
- On the 30th breath, exhale and hold for as long as you can.
- When you feel your body really needs to take a breath, inhale fully and hold for 15 seconds before releasing
This cycle may be repeated three to four times without intervals.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
As the name suggests, alternate-nostril breathing is the focused practice of breathing through one nostril at a time. Breathing should be easy, gentle, and slow. Please do not force your breath or breathe fast.
- Find a quiet place to sit and relax.
- Press your pointer and middle finger of your right hand together. Place them on the upper bridge of your nose, between the eyebrows, so the thumb falls on the outside of the right nostril and your ring finger is outside your left nostril.
- Gently close the right nostril using your thumb. Inhale slowly through the left nostril for three counts.
- Release the right nostril and gently close your left nostril using the ring finger. Exhale slowly through the now-open right nostril for three counts. Then, inhale through the right nostril for three counts.
- Release the left nostril, and close the right nostril again. Exhale through the left nostril for three counts. This concludes one cycles.
Repeat for two to three breathing cycles.
Breathing in, I accept my Future
Breathing out, I release my Past
Breathing in Acceptance,
Breathing out Release,
Finding the NOW in the Pause