When you feel tired, anxious, irritated, depressed or stressed, you can use your breath to help regulate and balance your mood and energy. I want to share with you two of my favorite breathing exercises. They are extremely simple, yet very effective. In just a couple of minutes, you’ll notice significant changes to your state of mind and being.
Breath of Fire
This is a cleansing and energizing breath, powered by abdominal contractions. Pull and pump out air from your abdomen rapidly and rhythmically, just like pumping a bellows. Breath in and out of your nose focusing almost entirely on the exhaling breath. The inhale will happen almost automatically.
Even though this is a very powerful breath, you want to relax as much as possible, without putting too much tension on your abdominal muscles, chest and rib cage muscles or shoulders. Find your own rhythm. When the rhythm takes over, it’ll require little effort on your part.
Breath of fire will entirely charge the nervous system, causing the glands to secrete and purify the blood. You will feel instantly energized. Your mind will become quieter and clearer. And your mood will be uplifted.
I usually practice one minute of breath of fire when I get up in the morning, and then throughout the day whenever I need a little boost. It’s simple, effective and free!
Breath of 4-7-8
This deep and relaxing breath is great for calming your mind and emotions. First take a long and deep exhale. Then inhale on the count of four, hold your breath on the count of 7, and exhale on the count of 8. When you exhale, blow the air from your curled lips, making a whooshing sound, and squeeze out the air gradually and evenly from your abdomen, like releasing a bloated balloon.
Again, you want to relax when you do this breathing exercise. You can focus on your belly when you do this, watching it expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale. This breath is very effective in calming your nervous system, and it’s great for calming stress, anxiety and irritability.
I usually do this breathing exercise after one minute of breath of fire. The energizing breath of fire and calming deep breathing are a wonderful combination to jumpstart your day. I also do the deep breathing exercise throughout the day whenever I feel the need.
Check it out for yourself and see what happens. Please leave a comment if you have something to share.