Take a breath

 How comfortable do you feel to connect through the breath

When I teach yoga and add breathing exercises I am always surprised how many people have problems breathing deeply, well I could even say everybody has  problems. I see shallow breathing, I see people in apnoea, I hear them like snoring or sounds as if they breathe through a straw that is sticking in their nose. How comes we have such a disconnection of our breath?

I know, stress often finds its way into our life and even if we try to stay calm, we are not in the flow. But breathing would help us staying in the flow of life and especially staying in our center, in our body. 

It would calm our thoughts so that we won’t fall into the behaviour and patterns of stress

I recently took another 300hr teacher training breathing certification class and was amazed about my own shallow breathing, although I think I belong to the part of humans who already take care of regular deep calm breathing, because as a yoga teacher I have learnt all the tools and knowledge around breath, health, stress reduction, improvement of blood flow, the list is long of positive effects. Still, I forgot to breathe deeply often enough.

I will show you a few breathing exercises that are a quick, simple, and effective way to not only reduce stress, but also to enhance overall physical and emotional health by supporting detox, reducing tension, improving posture, aiding digestion, and much more.  What’s really important is the connection to our emotions with the breath too. You can pick one that techniques that suits you best and bring it into your daily life, maybe 5 min conscious breathing per day, how about that?

That is also a way to bring yourself into the present moment, being mindful and connect with yourself, and your emotions

 

Regular practice will help soothe your mind and body throughout the day, and using it as an immediate response to stress will help quell the intensity of the moment.

Ready? Give one of these breathing exercises a try and see what it does for you!

1. Abdominal breathing.
Place one hand on your heart and the other over your diaphragm. Take a long, deep breath in through your nose, feeling your diaphragm open up as you breathe in as much as feels comfortable. Then slowly exhale through pursed lips, feeling your abdominal muscles tighten as you exhale all the way. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

2. Ujjayi breathing.
This breath is also referred to as “ocean breath” because the method emits a sound evocative of gentle ocean waves on the shore. You certainly know it when you have a regular yoga practice. Begin by taking some regular deep breaths, then upon exhaling constrict your throat muscles to narrow the passage of air enough to emit a sound. Do the same with your next inhale and breath into your belly, so that the continuous breath in and out feels constricted enough at the throat to make a “hahhhhh” sound, but not so much that you are scratching your throat or not breathing freely. I always think it reminds us to Darth Wader of Star wars. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

3. Stimulating breath.
This technique is also called “bellows breath” and consists of very quick in and out breathing to energize and enliven the mind and body. Inhale and exhale quickly through the nose, keeping the mouth closed, and you should naturally begin to feel your diaphragm pulsing as it constricts on the outbreath and relaxes on the inbreath in a rapid rhythm. Practice this breath in cycles (for example 7 quick in/out breaths, then one round of slow deep breathing, followed by another cycle of 7 quick in/out breaths). Repeat for 5-10 minutes, no longer than 15 minutes your first few times).

4. 4-7-8 breath.
This exercise hails from one of my teachers during my Nutrition and Health studies with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Dr. Andrew Weil, and is used for relaxation. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold that breath for 7 counts, and then breathe out for 8 counts. Notice that the exhalation lasts longer than the inhalation. It might take a little practice but gradually you’ll feel the rhythm and will breathe in more deeply in a shorter amount of time while stretching out that exhale in a more lingering way. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

5. Affirmation breathing.
This exercise is very simple but brings in the added component of engaging the mind through affirmation in order to clear thoughts and focus on something positive you want to invite in the moment. Choose one or two words that you would like to repeat for the few minutes of the breathing exercise. For example, let’s say your words are “love” and “freedom.” Simply take long deep breaths, thinking the word “love” as you breathe in, and the word “freedom” as you breathe out. You can also close your eyes and place both hands over your heart to feel more present. Repeat for 5-10 minutes. I personally like also the word stillness, which I think brings us deep into our body and we can let go of the noise that we have all day around us.

Take a pause, take a breath

If you are also interested in becoming a health coach and gain more knowledge for yourself or even for your clients about healthy lifestyle, wellness, food , feel free to download a sample lecture here. Institute of Integrative Nutrition focus on a wide variety of holistic health elements beyond food, and value the role that self-care plays in creating health and happiness. This is why it’s so important to find holistic ways to manage stress – like breathing exercises! Especially in these days were it is more important than ever to create a strong immune system

Do you practice breathing exercises to alleviate stress? Or are you interested in a few coaching sessions of breath and meditation with me to overcome an actual issue with stress, anxiety, burnout etc? Feel free to contact me.

I invite you to come ad join me in my facebook group HEAL to THRIVE where I post more infos, tools, and techniques about meditation, breathing, healthy lifstyle, creating your business, mindset etc. I’d love to have you there if you are interested in healing to live a soul-driven life, from fear to freedom, from pain to power.  

Feel free to contact me for more info or book a 20 min free breakthrough call

Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash

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