Breathing Exercises Can Reduce Stress
Breathwork is the art and science of applying breath awareness, and conscious breathing for health, growth, and change, in spirit, mind, and body. Breathwork brings together ancient wisdom and modern science.
Breathwork is practiced by people from every walk of life, and every level of society. It is recommended and used by virtually all holistic, alternative, and complementary health care programs and practitioners. And most of the leading experts in the field of self-improvement and personal growth apply breathwork in their personal lives as well as their professional practice.
We use breathwork to focus and to direct our energy.
We use it to fuel gentle and loving behaviors, creative and productive actions. We use breathwork to generate luminous thoughts, ecstatic emotions, or to simply feel comfort and pleasure.
You can use breathwork to dissolve tension and pain or to reduce anxiety and stress.
Breathwork fuels your passion and helps you to change your behavior. Breathwork is used to enhance sexual pleasure, and to recover from sexual abuse.
Breathwork can be used to warm you up or cool you off. It can be used to wake you up or calm you down. Breathwork is used in health and fitness, sports, martial arts, and the creative and performing arts. It is used in bodywork, psychotherapy, meditation, and spiritual practice.
If you are an artist, breath work will inspire you. If you are a healer, breath work will give you more power. Whether you are a businesswoman, a policeman, a politician, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher: breath work will make you more effective.
It is not an exaggeration to say that breath awareness and conscious breathing can enhance anything you do, and it can support and empower practically everything about you!
Here Are 8 Simple Breathwork Exercises:
Take a few minutes to explore each of them. Find one you like and return to it often. Practice breath awareness and conscious breathing on a day-to-day basis and you will add years to your life and life to your years!
1. Put the exhale first. Most people think of breathing in terms of an inhale followed by an exhale. But who says the inhale has to come first? Just by changing your breathing orientation in this way, you’ll discover many things about your breath and yourself! Exhale inhale… exhale, inhale… exhale inhale!
2. Explore the three breathing spaces. The lower space is from the pubic bone to the belly button. The middle space is from the belly button to the nipple line. The upper space is from the nipple line to the chin. Identify and isolate each space.
Practice filling them individually, and then in order: the bottom first, then the middle, then the top (like filling a glass with water). It may take some focus and practice, and you may need some hands-on-coaching: but this “full yogic breath” is well worth mastering!
3. Breathe low and slow. Slow diaphragmatic breathing helps you to combat stress and to regain your composure. Breathing slowly into your belly will help calm, balance, and ground you. There are many ways to slow your breathing rate. You can increase the length of the pause after the exhale (postpone the inhale).
You can stretch the breaths out so that each inhales and each exhales lasts for several seconds. (6 to 8 breaths per minute is considered a “therapeutic zone” in breathwork.)
4. Combine breathing and thought. As you inhale, think “I am relaxed;” and as you exhale, think “I am peaceful.” Or, as you inhale think “I am healthy and strong;” and as you exhale think “I am free and safe.” Create your own positive thoughts or affirmations, and breathe life into them. With breathwork, you can create your own experience and you can determine your own reality.
Life really is that simple folks!
5. Combine breathing and movement. As you breathe in and expand, allow your hands and arms to express this expansion. Allow your body to move in some way, in sync with each breath. You can also breathe in rhythm to your footsteps as you walk or run. Use your breath consciously as you lift or push something. Sit on the edge of a chair, and as you breathe in, arch your back and lift your head.
As you breathe out, lower your chin, and curl your spine. Feel the breath move your body and feel your body move the breath.
6. Combine breathing and sound. When you breathe, make powerful wind noises or ocean noises. Make calm and soothing sounds. Breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through pursed lips. Or breathe in through your mouth making an “ooh” shape/sound and then breathe out through your mouth with an “aaaah” shape/sound. Hum, chant, tone, whistle, sing. It’s all part of breathwork!
7. Combine breathing and visualization. Imagine love and light coming into you and filling you as you inhale. Imagine this light and love flowing to every cell of your body, nourishing, cleansing, renewing, soothing, and strengthening you. Imagine breathing this love and light through your heart and out to the world as you exhale.
Imagine this light and love touching and blessing and uplifting everyone and everything in your life.
8. Learn the Re-birthing Breath, also called “conscious energy breathing,” “connected breathing,” or “circular breathing.” This special way of breathing involves a gentle continuous connected rhythm of breath–like a wheel turning. There are no pauses or gaps between the inhale and exhale, the exhale and inhale. You merge them into each other.
For more on the re-birthing technique, as well as all the other forms of breathwork, visit Breathmastery. Subscribe to the free monthly report, and download your free copy of the e-book: “An Introduction to Breathwork.”
About the Author: Dan Brulé, the Official Guide to Breathing and Breathwork, has studied and practiced breathwork with more than 80,000 people in over 40 countries since 1976.