Trying to learn breathing techniques is one of the best ways to learn how to relax. It is because it is free, relatively easy to learn and you can try it anywhere without anyone else knowing.
We can do it when we are meditating or on our own. You can even use it as part of “Still Time” or other types of meditation where you just take time out for a few minutes just for you. I have explained more about it here.
We need to breathe properly if we want to have a healthy mind and a healthy brain.
Breathing is the most important part of meditation because it helps to take us through the relaxation phase. It does this by helping the body to relax. We need to breathe properly if we want to have a healthy mind and a healthy brain.
Benefits of Breathing Techniques
Deep breathing is such a simple strategy not just in response to stress and difficulties, but to keep you relaxed as much as possible. Like every technique however, it requires practice and perseverance for you to learn how to get the best out of it.
When you are stressed, your automatic nervous system (ANS) – Sympathetic Nervous system responds by trying to prepare your body to respond. That’s why your digestive system slows down, your heart races, and your body feels nervous and on edge as it releases hormones such as adrenaline.
Ideally, after the stress is over, the Parasympathetic Nervous System of your (ANS) kicks. We rest and digest where your heart starts to slow down, your digestive system goes back to normal and you feel at ease.
For many of us, unfortunately, due to the amount of stress we experience and feel, our body’s rarely or never return back to how it should do. Deep breathing can help with:
Being deep, focused, and conscious helps you to relax
Lowers your blood pressure
Boosts your immunity
It is a great “grounding” technique to help with moments when you are very anxious or have PTSD symptoms
Lowers your heart rate breathing is a fantastic way to help us relax
How to Get Started with Breathing Techniques
For each one, it is important that you get yourself comfortable either by sitting in a comfortable chair with your back well-supported and your feet on the ground. You can even try them lying down, just make sure that your back and neck are straight.
You don’t need to sit cross-legged in the lotus position, but you can if you are comfortable.
Or just sit on the floor with your legs straight out on a nice cushion
Absolute silence isn’t necessary
If you don’t get the chance to have silence, it isn’t necessary, to be honest. If the only time you can practice is when you are at your desk at work, you will still get the benefit from this.
The reason why silence isn’t necessary is that you can use these techniques anywhere you need them.
Inhaling and Exhaling
When inhaling, breathe in through your nose.
When exhaling breathe out through your mouth, just like you are blowing gently through a small hole or a balloon.
Consistency is Key
The main thing about learning breathing techniques so you can get the benefit from it is to try and do it daily. Even if it is for five minutes a day. Just set the clock on your smartphone and time yourself. Five minutes a day is better than two hours a week as you are more likely to adopt it as a habit the more regular you do it. Also if you miss a day or two it’s not too bad but if you miss one of your weekly sessions, you would have missed 14 days of practice.
The 5 Different Breathing techniques
What I’m going to do now is take you through five different breathing exercises:
- Deep breathing
- Deep Abdominal Breathing
- Alternate Nostril
- Breath Retention
- Heart Activation
They are all good. You can try them all and then find out which one works best for you. You only need to try them for about five minutes each.
As I said, you only need to be doing each of these meditation breathing techniques for up to five minutes each. It might help to have a stopwatch with a gentle alarm
The main thing about this one is being aware of your breathing.
You don’t need to do anything special but breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, deeper than you would normally.
Try to inhale through your nose, gently and deeply all the while focusing on your breath
Then exhale through your mouth also focusing on your breath
Deep Abdominal Breathing
I’d like you to concentrate on just deep breathing just breathing deeply and notice what happens in your body.
Take a deep breath
Notice your stomach expanding that’s because your diaphragm here just expands downward to allow all the air in and out to push your stomach outwards.
And that’s what should happen when we’re doing deep breathing.
Just put your hand towards the lower part of your stomach – just below your belly button
I want you to concentrate on breathing into that area.
Just put a little bit of pressure not too much
So a nice deep breath in and then exhale all the way and then a nice deep breath in and exhale it out
All the way and one more nice deep breath in breathing into the abdomen and exhale it all the way.
OK so now you’ve got the idea of what it feels like to breathe into that part the part just below your belly button when we’re breathing out we’re going to breathe out all the way and when I say all the way
Some people might do during any of these exercises might get a little bit lightheaded because what we’re doing is we’re oxygenated in the body properly. That’s not a problem if you get lightheaded. If you need to stop by all means stop.
But if you want to keep going that’s fine too.
If you like, you can try it 10 times here. We’re going to do 10 big exhales inhales and exhales first So are you ready.
You can count them out in your mind. There is no need to shut your eyes at this point.
Alternate nostril breathing
You might not want to do this if you have a bit of a cold or an allergy.
This is a great one to do because the concentration needed in your mind to breathe in one nostril and breathe out one nostril and then breathe in the other and breathe out the other is quite a lot of concentration.
You can try just placing your finger on the nostril you are NOT breathing in if that would help.
It might seem strange to start with but with practice, you can do it.
Just try now for ten seconds hold your finger on your left nostril and just breathe in your right nostril.
Now you’ve done that try holding your finger on the right nostril and breathing in on the left nostril.
You can repeat this for five minutes
It’s kind of a strange sensation isn’t it kind of strange thing if you’ve never tried it before
You can also try – holding your finger on your right nostril. Then taking a deep abdominal breath in then exhale. Do this again on the left nostril
Again you can repeat this for five minutes
As I said you don’t need to use your finger. If you can breathe in and out of each nostril on its own, that’s fine.
So breath retention is about as it can be about oxygen eating your body is again about allowing your body
With your lips sealed. What we’re going to do this time is we’re going to take a nice deep breath in again into the abdomen area.
But then when we get to the end of that breath in we’re going to hold it for a count of eight and then we’re going to fully exhale again through your mouth and really blow everything out again.
Then we’re just going to repeat the process – We’re going to do that just four times.
Another option would be to breathe in for the count of five – hold it for five seconds. Exhale for five seconds then hold for five seconds.
Again just do this four times.
Don’t do this too many times as it might make you lightheaded.
You can also be flexible with the number of counts you are inhaling, exhaling, and holding your breath. If you need to go slightly lower, that’s fine. If you find that you can increase your counts and holds, that is fine also.
Heart Activation Breathing
After just 30 seconds or so of deep breathing (mentioned above) we’re going to switch to focus, breathing in and out through our hearts.
Now obviously physically we can’t breathe through a heart we breathe into our lungs, don’t we?
However, when you concentrate on it you can actually feel it. It almost physically feels like you’re breathing in through your heart by that breath of oxygen going through your heart and that breath out is passing through your heart.
What this does is focus on a point is helps our mind and our body to know where we want to focus.
Now if it helps you can take your right hand and place it on the left-hand side of your chest. We can slightly just put a little bit of pressure. Not too much just so you could feel yourself breathing in and out through your heart.
So let’s just get started now for breathing in and out.
Nice and deep just start a nice deep breathing rhythm that nice rhythm that’s slightly deeper than you would normally breathe.
I hope you found these useful. Feel free to share this with someone else that would find this beneficial. If you want further reading on this subject, I have included some books below.
* I earn a small commision from Amazon if you purchase a book using my links. This helps me to continue to provide free content
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