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3 Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

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The breath is such an integral part of our existence yet we often take it for granted, completely unaware of its power and its ability to keep our body alive. In fact, the breath can do so much more than just keep us alive – when we learn to direct our breath a certain way, it can have a profound effect on our mood. Here are three simple breathing exercises that you can use when you feel worried or stressed out and need to just relax and let go.

Slow-Deep Breathing

This is perhaps one of the simplest breathing techniques yet it has an intense calming effect.

  1. In a comfortable position, breathe in through the nose for a count of 6 and breathe out through the nose for a count of 6. Keep the count in your head for a couple of rounds until the rhythm becomes natural. Repeat for 5 minutes.  

Benefits of Slow-Deep Breathing: Quiets the mind, calms the nervous system.

Ujjayi Breath

This ancient yogic breathing technique will not only help you relax but it will also energize you. Sit in a comfortable position and follow these steps:

  1. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. When exhaling, imagine that you are trying to fog a mirror so make the “HAAAH” sound. Repeat this three times.
  2. Now close your mouth, begin inhaling and exhaling through the nose, and try to have the same mirror fogging experience and make the same sound. Aim to inhale for 6 counts, pause, and exhale for 6 counts, pause. Repeat this for 5-10 minutes.

Benefits of Ujjayi breath: Quiets the mind, creates a sense of calm, relieves tension, increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, encourages free flow of prana (the vital life force).

Sitkari Pranayama

This breathing technique is said to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Find yourself in a comfortable position and follow the steps:

  1. Slightly open your mouth, keeping your tongue just behind your teeth.
  2. Slowly inhale through the space between your upper and lower teeth, allowing the air to brush over your tongue as you raise your chin upward.
  3. Close your mouth when inhalation is finished and exhale through the nostrils as you slowly lower your chin back to its neutral position. Repeat this for 8 to 12 breaths.

Benefits of Sitkari Pranayama: Improves focus, reduces anxiety and anger.

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