Think about your your first breath.
And now, your last breath.
Between these two breaths is the expanse of our lives.
Life without breath is impossible and yet we pay such little attention to this miracle performing act that goes on day in and day out.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I adore breathing exercises.
Why? Because they have never failed me. And, because I absolutely love how I feel during and after the breath work.
Through breathing exercises I have traveled far, wide and deep in my consciousness and would love to share them with you for your breathing pleasure.
In some ways, breathing exercises are the easy going cousin of meditation. Where most may find meditation challenging because of a racing mind or external distractions, breathing exercises only require the barest of attention to perform whilst delivering a multitude of healing and nourishing benefits.
Don’t you love it when things are easy to do and can fit into your daily life? No fine print or permission slips. A win/win for sure!
So let’s start by looking at a few of the benefits that breathing exercises generate first:
- Anyone can do them – kids, grown-ups, grandparents
- Release stress and tension
- Detoxify and release toxins
- Massage internal organs
- Strengthen immune system
- Improve biological processes from digestion to circulation
- Boost self confidence and wellbeing
- Pain diminishing capacities
- Improve quality of sleep
- Elevates moods through the release of juicy chemicals in the brain
- Deepen your relationship to you
And now without further delay, with great jubilation, I present a few of my all time favourite breathing exercises. Enjoy!
- Anuloma Viloma. This breathing exercise is like nectar for my brain and nervous system. The breath entering and exiting through the nostrils, the sound of the breath moving inside and out, gently guides me to the most sacred places in my being.Whenever I mention or think about Anuloma Viloma, in my mind’s eye, I bow my head to this process, because of how much I value its gifts to me. My heart expands with such gratitude.
This breathing exercise balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Stops mind chatter and releases stress. Practiced daily, it can build lung capacity and improve sense of self. Take it easy and start with a few rounds and slowly build your practice from anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes. Want to try it.
- Simply Inhale through left nostril closing the right nostril with the thumb
- Hold the breath by closing both nostrils
- Exhale through the right nostril whilst closing the left nostril with the ring finger and little finger
- Inhale through the right nostril whilst keeping the left nostril closed with the ring finger and little finger
- Hold the breath by closing both nostrils
- Exhale through the left nostril whilst closing the right nostril with the thumb
- Repeat a few times. Sit quietly and observe your feelings and thoughts. You may feel more spacious!
I think of this breathing exercise as a “true breath” because our bodies do this naturally when we are tired or stressed. It is a perfect exercise for beginners and long time meditation practitioners. See if you recognize it.
- Take a deep breath and let out a deep sigh.
- Allow your body to release any tension through the exhalation, without feeling any embarrassment or self-consciousness. (If you are feeling shy or some resistance, you can start by inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling through the nose fully until you feel ready to try the sighing exercise).
- Do this several times until you feel a shift in your body and mind. The shift can be experienced as a sense of stillness and peace, or the calming of the chattering mind).
- Then, if you are feeling brave, sigh quite audibly – it really does make a difference to the whole body.Breathing more deeply brings in more life-affirming oxygen into your blood and thus decreases the ‘squeezing’ that lack of oxygen creates. You may feel a desire to stretch or walk around after this exercise.
- Stomach Pump
- Take a deep breath in, and breathe a strong breath out.
- Do this a couple of times, and on your next breath after exhaling do not breath in.
- ull your stomach/solar plexus in and up your spine, back and forth until you need to breath again.
- Repeat these steps 2 more times
- Sit quietly and close your eyes. Meditate.
What has shifted for you? Can you feel the nectar of your consciousness?
Doing this exercise will help you release anxiety and insecurities, and help flatten your stomach (not bad!)
When we think about our breathing and how easily we can use it to transform our experience of negative states into positive, joyous ones, then we owe it to ourselves to breathe consciously, deeply and divinely.
How about you? Do you like the sound of breathing exercises? Would you consider trying some? Or let me know some your favourite ones on Facebook!