Breathing: How To Do It Properly & Feel Amazing!

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A power of unlimited potential lies dormant right under your nose. 

Do you want to relax and wind down? Breathe

Need to put a pep in your step? Skip the coffee and breathe

Have a project to finish and need to get in the creative zone? Yep, there’s a breath exercise for that, too.

Over the last few years, ‘breathwork’ has gained popularity in health and wellness circles. Much like yoga a couple decades ago, it’s making traction in all kinds of unexpected settings, spurred by a greater cultural emphasis on mental health issues and awareness.

What the heck is breathwork? The term refers to various breathing exercises, ranging from the incredibly simple to the yogic tradition of pranayama and deep, therapeutic emotional release work. The International Breathwork Foundations defines breathwork as “the experiential field of study and practice that encompasses a variety of breathing techniques utilised individually and in groups, to cultivate self-awareness and the enhancement of physical, emotional, cognitive, or spiritual well being.”

The field is broad, and there’s plenty to explore. All you need is your awareness, your breath and an open mind. 

There are two groups of breathwork exercise – awareness practice and modulation practice. 

Awareness Practice

Photo by freepik

Awareness practice is simply an intentional focus on your breath without making any attempt to change it. One follows each inhale and exhale mindfully, paying attention to bodily sensations as they occur. Many of us zoom through a highly-charged day-to-day, and this awareness practice can help ground our minds in the present moment. The more we practice mindful breathing, the easier it will be to return to center when crises big and small pop up to throw off our day. 

Related Article: Summary & Q+A: The Art of Breathwork: How Breathing Affects Your Health and Mental State

Give awareness breathing a try:

  1. Take a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. 
  2. Take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose.
  3. Allow your awareness to arrive in the here and now.
  4. Bring your attention to your breath at your nostrils.
  5. Observe the breath going in and out without changing it.
  6. Notice the air temperature, speed of inhalation or any other noticeable sensations.
  7. Stick with it for a few minutes – observe your natural rhythm and breath.
  8. Notice the state of your mind and any feelings in your body.
  9. When you’re ready, finish the exercise and open your eyes. 

The modern, capitalist grind keeps many of us hustling from morning to night. It’s hard to stay tuned to our own bodies, but awareness breathing practices give us space to slow down and pay attention to both one’s body, mind and spirit. Catch a feeling of calm and relaxation. Not everything is as urgent as you think!

Modulation Practice

Photo by yanalya

The second exercise style is conscious modulation, which is a fancy way of saying that we control or change the breath in a certain way so as to achieve a particular result. If you’re regularly stressed or have trouble sleeping, you can try this particular breath pattern.

Related Article: The Truth About Adrenal Fatigue & Why It Matters

Try the 4-7-8 Breath

  1. Take a comfortable seated position and close your eyes.
  2. Take a moment to notice how you feel.
  3. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth.
  4. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  5. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  6. Exhale through your mouth like you’re blowing through a straw for a count of 8.
  7. Repeat 4 times or up to a couple of minutes.
  8. Keep your eyes closed, observe how your body feels and your state of mind.
  9. When you’re ready, finish the exercise and open your eyes.

Pregnancy note: If you are pregnant, holding your breath is not advised. In this case, skip the hold, and just inhale for 4, exhale for 8.

How do you feel? Relaxed, right? It’s almost as good as an afternoon nap.

Consciously changing the way you breathe can improve your mental, emotional and physical state. Your breath is your superpower! Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Try these exercises and share your experience with us on socials.


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