Breathing Exercises

Breathing is an excellent way of relaxing the body and mind. The following breathing exercises will help you to unwind and gain stress relief.

Nose breathing is a wonderful way of destressing

Breathing exercises are an excellent way of managing your stress and helping you to relax. What is especially great about these exercises is that you can do them at home, at work or in between the two - on the way to work. All that these exercises require are you and nothing more.

Breathing techniques have been around for thousands of years. In the yoga tradition there is a formal practice of yoga breathing exercises called pranayama.

Pranayama is the art of the breath (prana) and combines breathing techniques with stretching, extending or restraining the body (ayama). Pranayama is said to overcome limitations and expand your energy.

Benefits of Breathing Exercises

The benefits of pranayama and breathing techniques are:

• Increases your energy

• Slows the breathing down

• Helps to relax you

• Increases sensitivity

• Helps the mind to gain clarity

• Helps to eliminate mental distractions

• Helps to calm internal conflicts

3 Breathing Exercises

Please note: Should you feel any headache or discomfort while doing these exercises then please stop and lie down to rest. If in any doubt about your health then please speak with your physician.

Exercise No.1: Stomach Breathing

Place your hands on your stomach. Relax. Breathe in and then out again.

Allow your shoulders to drop and your whole body to relax.

It is important to breathe in and out through the nose. If your nose is blocked then it is fine to breathe through your mouth.

1. While breathing in through your nose try to feel your stomach rising.

2. When you have reached a full breath in, pause for a second.

3. Breathe out through your nose and allow your stomach to deflate (if you can't make your stomach rise and fall with your breath try this lying down to start off with. This will help you to feel your stomach moving).

4. At the end of breath out, pause again for a second before breathing in again.

5. Make sure you don't force your breath and be relaxed. This is important. The more relaxed you are, the more benefits the body gains.

6. Repeat this breath for 20 counts.

Exercise No. 2: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Starting postion for alternate nostril breathing

For this exercise please put your hands in the same position as in the photo to the right. You use your right hand.

Your second finger should be placed on the middle of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Your thumb should open and close the right nostril. The third finger should open and close the left nostril.

1. Breathe in for a count of 2,3 or 4 (keep the same number for every time you breathe in - so if you breathe in for a count of 2 then breathe out for a count of 2, hold your breath for a count of 2 etc. Breathe into your left nostril - keeping your thumb on your right nostril

2. Close your left nostril with your third finger and hold your breathe for a count of 2.

3. Breathe out for a count of 2 through the right nostril (lifting up the thumb).

4. Breathe in through the right nostril for a count of 2.

5. Hold your breath for a count of 2.

6. Breathe out through the left nostril for a count of two.

7. This is one repetition. Repeat five times before stopping.

8. If at any time you feel light headed, please stop and lie down. If in any doubt please speak to your doctor.

The following video runs through this alternate nostril breathing exercise completely so that you can follow along.

Exercise No.3: Slow Breathing

1. While breathing in through the nose try and breathe as slowly as you can.

2. When you have a full breath in, stop for a second.

3. Then breathe out slowly, trying to breathe as slowly as possible.

4. Hold for a second before breathing in again.

5. Feel yourself relaxing and unwinding as you breathe in and out.

6. See how slowly you can breathe and remember the pause between the breaths. This helps to disengage the mind and give you more clarity.

7. Breathe for approximately 20 times then stop. Start again a minute later.

This breathing exercise can be done while typing, walking or doing daily chores. It will help you to do whatever you are doing with more joy and happiness.

I hope that you have enjoyed these breathing exercises. If you practice them regularly and with patience you will notice a huge shift in how you approach life and the world around you.

For more tips and techniques about breathing you can always subscribe to our newsletter Relieving Stress Today and receive the free ebooks which are available to all subscribers:

Return from Breathing Exercises to Breathing