Breath For Relaxation – 10 Ways You Can Naturally Relax

Breath for relaxation is possible. Because with each inhalation, your bloodstream inhales life-giving oxygen and expels the exhaust of its toil: carbon dioxide. It’s a journey of renewal that never stops!

Incorrect breathing exercises can have drastic negative effects, including increased anxiety and physical exhaustion.

When feeling anxious, try a calming breathwork practice to restore the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your system for improved emotional wellness!

5 Benefits of Breath for Relaxation

  • Deep breathing triggers a relaxation response, lowering stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This leads to a calmer state of mind.
  • Taking slow, deep breaths relaxes the muscles and dilates blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. This reduces strain on the heart.
  • Deep breathing maximizes oxygen intake, which helps white blood cells function optimally to fight off illnesses.
  • More oxygen in the bloodstream gives a boost of energy and mental clarity.
  • The practice brings your attention to the present moment, clearing the mind. This can enhance concentration and awareness.
Breath For Relaxation / Canva
Breath For Relaxation

Shallow Breathing Contributes To Anxiety

Anxiety can create an imbalance in the body that triggers a physical response, such as rapid breathing from the chest instead of deeper breaths from the abdomen.

These shallow thoracic breaths limit oxygen and increase carbon dioxide levels while raising heart rate, causing dizziness and muscle tension. All signs associated with stress that can lead to panic attacks.

Diaphragmatic or deep breathing technique is a powerful way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to relax and stay in control even when faced with challenging circumstances.

Reaching for this breath-centered technique helps keep our bodies from going into an automated “fight-or-flight” response so we can remain calm in stressful moments.

Chest vs. Abdominal Breathing

Many of us don’t give conscious thought to our breathing technique, but it can actually be divided into two distinct patterns. Knowing about these different types of breath relaxation techniques could help improve your overall wellbeing!

  • Diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing: This breathing can help you harness the power of a newborn baby’s relaxed state. By engaging your diaphragm and creating negative pressure that pulls air into your lungs, this type of deep, even breaths provide increased oxygen to improve wellbeing in many different aspects of life. So give yourself permission for some relaxation – breathe like a baby!
  • Thoracic (chest) breathing: Thoracic breathing is a type of rapid, shallow breath that often manifests unconsciously when we feel anxious. It rises from the chest and can be an indicator of our emotional state.

Uncover the secrets of your breathing style! Place one hand on your upper abdomen and the other in the middle of your chest. Observe which part rises more as you inhale.

If it’s primarily at or near to waist level, then chances are that you’re a belly breather; if however it mainly moves around mid-chest height, this suggests chest breathing!

As we navigate through stressful and anxious moments, keeping mindful of our breathing can help us break the cycle. With each breath, let your abdomen expand and contract (Progressive muscle relaxation).

Use a hand to monitor this subtle motion if it helps you stay focused on proper breathing techniques! Being conscious of how we breathe keeps vital oxygen flowing throughout the body while calming rattled nerves.

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How To Add Breath For Relaxation To Your Day?

Breathing techniques are a great way to relieve stress without the need for expensive equipment or time-consuming sessions. There is an endless variety of options that can be done anytime, anywhere – perfect for those on the go!

So whether you’re stuck in traffic or taking a break at work, consider utilizing this simple breath relaxation exercises and experience its calming effects right away.

Here are a few ideas to get started: Start with a small step—just five minutes of activity daily. As your fitness level increases, add more time to keep challenging yourself and maximize the health benefits.

If 5 minutes feels too long, start with just 2 minutes.

Practice multiple times a day. Schedule set times or practice conscious breathing as you feel the need.

10 Breath For Relaxation And Stress Relief  Techniques

Pursed Lip Breathing

This relaxation technique requires you to deliberately slow down your breathing rate. Pursed lip breathing can be done at any time and may help when doing activities that require extra effort. Like bending over, lifting something, or going up stairs.

Practice this breath 4 to 5 times a day when you first start so you can learn the breathing pattern correctly.

To do it:

  1. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  2. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other near your collarbone to observe the movements of your breath throughout each step.
  3. Inhale slowly through your nose, filling up your lungs as much as possible.
  4. As you exhale, lightly purse (pucker) and press together your lips, gently blowing air out of them like you would when you’re using a straw or blowing on a pinwheel. Your exhales should be twice as long as your inhales which will help to slow down your rate of respirations.
  5. Repeat the process for several minutes until you feel calmer, more relaxed and better able to focus on the present moment.

When you start practicing this technique, you may feel tired at first. But with time and practice, it will become easier and more natural.

Breath Focus Technique

Take a minute to think of a word that fills you with joy or serenity. Utilize this powerful mantra while employing deep breath relaxation techniques over the course of your practice session.

Beginning with 10 minutes and increasing up to 20 as you progress along your journey. This approach will help bring greater peace into our minds and bodies!

How to do this deep breathing:

  1. Begin by finding a comfortable sitting or lying position with your back straight.
  2. Place one hand on the abdomen and the other near your collarbone to observe the movements of your breath throughout each step.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe normally for a few breaths until you are completely relaxed.
  4. Focus on each individual breath, paying attention to what it feels like as you inhale and exhale from deep within the belly.
  5. Each time you exhale, imagine that your breath is carrying away any tension, stress or emotions that no longer serve you in a positive way.
  6. Repeat this process for several minutes until you feel calmer, more relaxed and better able to focus on the present moment.

Through breath focus and visualization, you can bring a sense of calm into your body. As you inhale, envision peace coursing through your veins like gentle waves; mentally repeating “inhaling peace and calm”.

When it’s time to exhale, imagine that all tension has evaporated away – speaking softly to yourself the mantra “exhaling tension and anxiety.”

Lion’s Breath

Experience the power of a mighty lion and unlock your energy with Lion’s breath. An ancient yoga breathing practice, simhasana or ‘Lion’s Pose’ relieves tension in both the chest and face while invigorating you like an animal returning to its element!

Ho to do this powerful breathing:

  1. Begin by sitting up with your feet flat on the floor and back straight.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen, gently pressing down to feel the movement of your diaphragm as you breath in and out.
  3. Inhale slowly through both nostrils, allowing your breath to drop deep into your belly as you fill up your lungs with air.
  4. Exhale a long, slow breath through an open mouth, sticking out the tongue and making a “ha” sound at the end of exhalation (this is usually accompanied by some eye-bulging or facial tension).
  5. Repeat this process for several minutes until you feel calmer, more relaxed and better able to focus on the present moment.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Improve your cardiovascular health and reduce heart rate with the calming practice of alternate nostril breathing, also referred to as nadi shodhana pranayama in Sanskrit.

This ancient breath for relaxation technique uses smooth, even breaths through each nostril to help you relax – just make sure not to practice if feeling congested or unwell!

How to do this controlled breathing:

  1. Begin by sitting cross-legged on the floor and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  2. Place your right hand in front of your face and fold down your index, middle and ring fingers so only your thumb and pinky are extended.
  3. Use the thumb to close off your right nostril and slowly inhale through the left nostril. Then use the pinky to close off the left nostril while you exhale slowly through the right nostril.
  4. Switch back and forth like this for at least 5 minutes, focusing on your breath as it moves through the body with each inhalation and exhalation.
  5. When finished, take a few moments to sit in stillness before opening your eyes and continuing with your day refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated.

Finish your session with an exhale on the left side.

Belly Breathing

Discover the power of this breathing! Take a few moments each day to relax and reduce stress with this simple exercise.

Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down – cross-legged, in a chair, or on your back – making sure you have two pillows for support if lying down.

Place one hand over your upper chest and the other below rib cage level. Now practice taking deep breaths from within your abdomen as recommended by The American Institute of Stress which can help decrease anxiety after just 20-30 minutes of focus every day.

To do this:

  1. Lie on your back, close your eyes and place one hand gently on your belly.
  2. Gently draw in your breath through your nose, letting it expand into the belly as both lungs fill up with air.
  3. Exhale slowly and deeply out of the mouth, focusing on the contraction of the diaphragm as you expel all of the air from the lungs.
  4. On each inhalation and exhalation, try to focus attention on the sensations in your body rather than overthinking or worrying about anything else that might be going on in life at the moment.
  5. Continue breathing in this way for several minutes, feeling each breath move through you at its own pace and allowing yourself to relax more and more with each cycle of breath.

Most people begin by doing the exercise three times and gradually increase to five to 10 minutes, one to four times a day.

Box Breathing

This breathing is an easy yet powerful technique to improve your wellbeing. It enables you to take control of both body and mind so that you can find clarity, calmness, and balance. A crucial element in leading healthy lives.

To do this:

  1. Find a comfortable seated or lying position, close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths to relax.
  2. On the next inhalation, silently count up to four as you fill your lungs with air.
  3. Hold your breath for four counts and then count up to four as you gently release it on the exhalation.
  4. This is one cycle of box breathing; continue this pattern for at least five minutes or up to 15 minutes if desired.
  5. When finished, take a few moments of stillness before opening your eyes and carrying on with your day feeling relaxed and energized.

4-7-8 Breathing

Discover the 4-7-8 breathing method benefits. An all natural tranquilizer that can be done anywhere from a seated position to lying in bed. This calming breath for relaxation exercise will help soothe your nervous system, giving you greater peace of mind.

To do this:

  1. Begin by finding a comfortable seated or lying position and close your eyes.
  2. Place one hand lightly on your belly, and inhale deeply and slowly through your nose while silently counting to four in your head.
  3. Hold the breath for seven counts, then exhale completely through the mouth while counting up to eight.
  4. Repeat this cycle of 4-7-8 breathing for at least five minutes or until you feel fully relaxed and energized.
  5. When finished, take a few moments of stillness before opening your eyes and carrying on with your day feeling tranquil yet alert.

Resonance Breathing

Resonance breathing is a proven method to induce relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety levels. This technique involves inhaling and exhaling for an equal amount of time (four – six seconds) with no pause in the process.

Achieving perfect harmony between each breath’s duration which leads to internal equilibrium within your body.

How to do this breathing exercises for relaxation:

  1. Begin by finding a comfortable seated or lying position and closing your eyes.
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose while mentally singing an “oh-hum” vocal tone on the inhale, starting with a mid-range tone and then slowly deepening it over the course of the breath.
  3. Hold the breath for four counts, then exhale completely while mentally singing “sah” on the exhale.
  4. Repeat this cycle of resonance breathing for at least five minutes or up to 15 minutes until you feel fully relaxed and energized.
  5. When finished, take a few moments of stillness before opening your eyes and carrying on with your day feeling revitalized yet calm.

Sitali Breath

Take a moment to relax and lower your body temperature by practicing the calming Sitali breath. Find an environment free of pollutants so that you can breathe clearly during this practice, allowing for maximum relaxation and peace of mind.

To do this:

  1. Begin by finding a comfortable seated or lying position and close your eyes.
  2. Stick out your tongue while curling the edges towards each other, to form a tube-like shape.
  3. Take a deep breath in through the “tube” of your tongue while silently counting to four in your head.
  4. Hold the breath for seven counts, then exhale completely through the nose while counting up to eight.
  5. Repeat this cycle of Sitali breath for at least five minutes or up to 20 minutes until you feel fully relaxed and energized.
  6. When finished, take a few moments of stillness before opening your eyes and carrying on with your day feeling refreshed yet alert.

If you’re feeling stress or anxiety, why not try out a simple yet effective breathing exercise?

You can do it anytime and in any position. Just remember to take your time with it if things get too intense. Take breaks if needed and come back later for another round of relaxation!

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