We all have those days where we just need to take a deep breath—and sometimes, lots of deep breaths! When I’m feeling on edge, I release tension by focusing on my breath. By taking long, deep inhales and exhales, we send a message to our brain to “calm down,” which then reduces muscle tension, slows down our increased heart rate, lowers blood pressure and ultimately helps us relax.
So next time you’re feeling stressed, anxious or on edge, try one of my favorite breathing techniques below! Play with different ones and see what works best for you. Woosah, my beautiful friends.
Belly Breathing is the most basic breathing exercise! To do this, simply place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathing deeply through your nose, let your belly inflate until you feel a slight stretch in your lungs. Exhale slowly. For best results, do this for 10 minutes, taking 6-10 breaths per minute.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Is your mind always racing when it’s time to go to bed? If so, try Sama Vritti, or “equal breathing.” Here’s how it works: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, with eyes open or closed. Count to 4 as you breathe in through your nose and do the same as you breathe out. Once you get the hang of that, work your way up to 8 counts per breath.
4-7-8 Breathing is a twist on Sama Vritti, and it can actually help you fall asleep even faster. (It’s my favorite breathing technique I use to fall asleep.) Like Sama Vritti, sit or lie down in a comfortable position, with your eyes open or closed. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and slowly exhale for 8 counts. Repeat at least 4 times. By the time I get to cycle 5, I’m usually already drifting off into dreamland.
Get to know your body through breath. By intentionally tensing and relaxing every single muscle group, one by one, you’ll be able to relax your body from head to toe. To start, close your eyes and choose a muscle group. (I like starting with my feet!) Alternate between tensing and relaxing your muscles in 2-3 second intervals, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth the entire time. Repeat as you move up to your knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, neck and even your head.
Feeling relaxed yet? I know I am! Let me know which breathing exercise you liked most in the comments below.
To your health!