Just Breathe

If you think about it, breath is one of our most significant inputs. Yet we often don’t breathe in the most beneficial way for our bodies. Our respiration directly affects heart rate and blood pressure and helps our bodies maintain the proper pH balance. Deep Breathing and other forms of breathwork can help us to improve the state of our entire being by toning our cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems all at once. But that’s not all; breathwork can also help to reduce our stress and encourage relaxation.

woman meditating with burning sage smudge stick
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Breathwork also pairs well with other relaxation techniques such as soothing herbal baths, meditation, and calming herbal teas such as You, Me, and Uni’s very own Meditative State of Mind. So, brew up a cup of your favorite tea and get to Breathing.

Try these 5 Breathing Exercises.

1. Belly Breathing

This is a straightforward technique that anyone can do at any time. It’s great to help settle yourself down mid panic attacks or when your anxiety runs super high.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Try to keep your lips closed and breathe through your nose.
  2. Place your hand on your abdomen. If you’d like, you can also place your other hand on your chest.
  3. Inhale. Pay attention to the movement of your abdomen. Try to spread your fingers as your belly expands.
  4. Exhale through your mouth. Paying attention to your belly moving inward and to your hand moving back into your body. Try to close your fingers as your belly moves back.
  5. Continue this as long as you need to attain a state of calm.

You can also modify this technique for laying on your back, laying on your stomach, or standing up.

serene asian woman lying with chakra stone on chest
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com
  • On your back- Lay down on your back with your knees bent, and the bottom of your feet are resting on the bed.
  • On your stomach- Lay down on your stomach with your head resting on your hands to allow room to breathe.
  • Standing- Stand up with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.

Add a level of difficulty.

As you become more comfortable with belly breathing, you can add a few more steps to improve your technique or increase your amount of calm.

  • Humming. Humming while Breathing can increase beneficial nitric oxide, which helps to build and repair the nervous system, dilate blood vessels, and increase the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. It’s also calming and soothing, which can help further reduce anxiety. Simply hum while you exhale (step 4). With your mouth closed, as you exhale, make the “hmmmmm” sound.
  • Roll your breath. As you inhale (step 3), imagine filling your belly with air, then move to fill your lungs. As you exhale through your mouth (step 4), empty your lungs first, then your belly.

2. Stretch Breathing

This technique combines breathwork with stretching and helps to loosen up the body with each breath. The key with this is to roll up slowly to avoid dizziness, forcing yourself to be more conscious of each breath.

  1. Stand up straight with your arms straight but relaxed, at your sides.
  2. As you inhale, reach your arms over your head.
  3. As you exhale, fold your body forward, dropping your arms until they touch the floor.
  4. Slowly inhale and roll your body up. Straighten the spine from the bottom up until you are standing straight once more.
  5. Slowly exhale and repeat the process ten times.
woman practicing yoga
Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

3. Alternate Nostril Breathing

This technique is a bit more complicated and requires some concentration. However, once you master it, this technique is very relaxing. This is one technique you want to avoid if you’re feeling under the weather or congested.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  2. Using your dominant hand, keep your thumb and pinkie finger out and curl the other fingers in.
  3. Empty your lungs.
  4. Gently close your right nostril with your right thumb (or left if you are using your left hand) and inhale through your left (right) nostril.
  5. Hold your breath for a moment before releasing, slowly through the same nostril.
  6. Switch sides and close the left (right) nostril with your right (left) pinkie finger and inhale through the right (left) nostril.
  7. Hold your breath for a moment before releasing, slowly through the same nostril.
  8. Repeat ten times, finishing with a gentle exhale on your non-dominant side.

4. Equal Breathing

This is another simple breathing technique that is friendly to all people of all ages and comfort levels.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  2. Breathe in and out through your nose at a count of 3-5 seconds on each inhale and exhale. Find the length that works for you.
  3. Focus your breath on matching your inhale with your exhale.

This is another easy technique.

  • Square Breathing- Try holding each breath for an amount of time equal to each inhalation and exhalation. (Inhale-Hold-Exhale-Hold)
  • Unequal Breathing- Breathe in deeply through the nose and breathe out through your mouth. Take longer to exhale than you took to inhale. Start by breathing in for 3-5 and out for 5-8 seconds but adjust for your comfort level.
woman girl animal dog
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

5. A Yawn and A Smile

This technique is another that incorporates motion. However, instead of a slow and gentle stretch, this one encourages us to yawn and smile.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and your arms by your side.
  2. Reach your arms wide, over your head, while breathing in through your mouth. This may encourage you to yawn.
  3. Hold your arms and breathe for a second before quickly releasing your arms back down to your sides while exhaling.
  4. Finish off with a smile and hold for 3 seconds.
  5. Repeat ten times.

For more information about You, Me, and Uni, read What is Uni? Trust Your Gut, Know Your Gut and Meditative State of Mind can be purchased online. For more information on You, Me and Uni, check out the website, created by Master Herbalist, Jennifer Vollbrecht. Browse the herbal tea articles on the site for more tips on adding delicious tea to your healthy lifestyle. Click here to read articles on improving digestiondandelion tea benefits, and remedies for cold and flu season. 

Anastacia Elizabeth Walden

Writer and Editor in Gainesville, FL

Owner of Walden Writes For Women

website

facebook

blog

Please follow and like us: