Breathing is one of the easiest things in the world, and certain breathing exercises can lead to several health benefits for both body and mind. Breathwork classes might be something for you to consider taking part in. These classes teach you breathwork techniques involving breathing exercises that aim to improve your overall mental and emotional state. Let’s look at what breathwork is all about and how breathing exercises can positively impact your life.
Why Breathing Exercises Help
Typically, healthy lungs rely on the diaphragm to do about 80% of the work to fill and empty. Sometimes, a person’s lungs can become less efficient at pulling in and pushing out air properly, especially in people who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD.
When this happens, air can get trapped inside, becoming stale, making it difficult for the diaphragm to do its job. Instead, other muscles in the back, neck, and chest compensate, leading to decreased oxygen levels. Luckily, breathing exercises can help you get rid of that stale air, and your diaphragm can help the lungs work efficiently.
Regulating Your Breath the Yoga Way: Pranayama Techniques
Breathwork has been used for thousands of years in yoga practices to provide balance, restoration, and spiritual clarity. There are many benefits to regular breathwork practice, including increased energy levels, reduced anxiety and depression, and increased energy levels.
Let’s look at some breathing exercises to try.
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Hold your right nostril closed with your right thumb. At the same time, inhale deeply through your left nostril. To exhale, hold your left nostril closed and exhale through your right. Continue alternating for three to five minutes while gently focusing on your breath. This breathing technique should provide instant relief from stress and is a great breathing exercise for anxiety.
Ujjayi (Ocean’s Breath)
Take a big breath, and with your mouth closed, exhale through your nose. While you exhale, gently constrict your throat muscles. As the air is released, it should sound like ocean waves. To practice, you can exhale with your mouth open while making the sound “haaaah.” This breathing technique is the perfect way to self-soothe when you feel frustrated or angry.
Shiitali Kumbhaka (The Cooling Breath)
Try this technique to reduce pitta (or heat) in your head, neck, or upper digestive tract. Start by folding your tongue lengthwise and inhale through the fold. Hold your breath for eight counts, and then exhale through your nose. Continue this technique for eight breaths, but don’t exceed eight minutes.
Siitkari Kumbhaka (The Hissing Breath)
Inhale deeply through your nose and hold your breath for eight seconds. Then, while resting your teeth on your tongue, exhale out your mouth while making a hissing sound. This technique provides similar benefits to Shiitali Kumbhaka, while also purifying your senses.
Brahmari (The Humming Breath)
This technique is similar to Siitkari Kumbhaka, but you hum instead of hissing as you exhale, causing vibrations to resonate in your heart and your head, resulting in balanced circulation and enhanced awareness. Try this technique for ten breaths, and then put your hands over your ears for ten more breaths for a more enhanced experience.
Bhastrika (The Bellows Breath)
This advanced technique must be performed under supervision, but it greatly helps to draw prana (or the life force) into your body and mind. This technique clears any mental, emotional, or physical blocks that may be present. To do this technique:
- Hold your right nostril closed and take 20 quick breaths through the left nostril.
- Switch nostrils and repeat.
- Take 20 quick breaths through both nostrils at once.
Surya Bhedana (The Solar Breath)
Inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left for a minimum of six breaths. Continue for up to ten minutes to reap the benefits of this breathing exercise. This technique is performed to balance Vata (or circulatory flow) in the body.
Chandra Bhedana (The Lunar Breath)
Like Surya Bhedana above, you breathe through one nostril and out the other for a minimum of six breaths. With this technique, you inhale through your left nostril and exhale through your right for up to 10 minutes. This practice should help to reduce pitta (or heat) in the body.
Active Yogic Breathing
Start by walking at a moderate pace. While walking, inhale and exhale deeply and slowly through your nose. Count your steps and try your best to take ten steps as you inhale and exhale. After a few minutes of active yoga breathing, you’ll find yourself feeling calmer and more relaxed.
Schedule Yoga & Breathwork Classes in Queen Creek Today!
Whether you’re looking to reduce stress or for a breathing exercise for sleep, breathwork can help. We offer many yoga classes, so you can choose the one that best meets your needs. Check out our class schedule and contact us to schedule your breathwork class today.