Breathing is an innate and powerful tool that we often take for granted. However, when used intentionally, breathing exercises can be a potent method for reducing stress, calming the mind, and promoting overall well-being. Here’s a guide to some simple yet effective breathing exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine:

Deep Belly Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing)

Video from YouTube | Michelle Kenway
  • Find a comfortable seated position or lie down on your back.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise as you fill your lungs with air.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall as you release the breath.
  • Repeat for several cycles, focusing on the sensation of your breath and the movement of your body.

4-7-8 Breathing

Video from YouTube | Headfulness – Luke Horton
  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds.
  • Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of 8 seconds, making a whooshing sound.
  • Repeat the cycle for 4 rounds, gradually increasing the number of repetitions as you become more comfortable with the technique.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm facing up.
  • Bring your right hand to your face and place your index and middle fingers between your eyebrows.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply through your left nostril.
  • Close your left nostril with your ring finger, release your thumb, and exhale through your right nostril.
  • Inhale through your right nostril, then close it with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril.
  • Continue this alternate pattern for several rounds, focusing on the flow of your breath and the sensation of air moving through each nostril.

Box Breathing

Video from YouTube | Young Scot
  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, imagining drawing the breath into your body.
  • Hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds, feeling the pause at the top of your inhalation.
  • Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of 4 seconds, releasing the breath from your body.
  • Hold your breath out for a count of 4 seconds, experiencing the stillness at the bottom of your exhalation.
  • Repeat the cycle for several rounds, allowing yourself to relax and unwind with each breath.

These breathing exercises can be practiced anytime and anywhere, making them accessible tools for managing stress and promoting relaxation in your daily life. Whether you have a few minutes or just a moment to spare, taking the time to connect with your breath can help you find calm and center yourself amidst the chaos of everyday life.