Breathing Techniques for an Internal Spring-Clean
Many of us find ourselves de-cluttering this time of year, as we welcome a new season and, along with that, new beginnings. As it turns out, our internal environments are in need of some spring cleaning, as well. Here are 5 simple yogic breathing techniques that will help you clear your internal space of any unwanted emotions so that you can start the day -- and the season -- fresh with a clear and relaxed state of mind.
Get ready, reset, breathe.
1) Belly Breathing
Comfortable, deep breathing is the key to relaxation. The funny thing is, many of us don't do this properly or even forget to do it all together. All too often, our breathing is quick and shallow. This is especially true when we are anxiety-ridden and stressed. In order to erase such emotions, try to consciously direct your breath to your lower belly.
To do this:
- Begin by placing one hand on your lower belly (just above your belt line) and the other on your chest.
- Exhale completely and allow your upper body to relax.
- Inhale slowly through your nose into your lower belly, pushing your stomach out.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, pulling your belly in.
Repeat as many times as you'd like!
2) Count It Out: Breathing in Intervals
Overwhelm: We're all familiar with the feeling. Sometimes life circumstances start to become too intense to deal with and we find ourselves stuck in an internal trap of anxiety and stress. Set yourself free with this breathing technique, which is sure to calm the body and clear the mind:
In a comfortable, seated position:
- Inhale for a 4 seconds.
- Hold for 4 seconds.
- Exhale for 4 seconds.
- Pause for 4 seconds.
Make sure to inhale through your nose, breathing into your lower abdomen and to exhale all of the air completely out of your body.
Continue this for 2-3 minutes.
There's nothing more frustrating than a foggy brain in the middle of the day. Now, you can skip reaching for a 5-hour energy shot to fight the fatigue. Your brain just needs a little oxygen!
Re-energize and regain concentration with this alternate nostril breathing exercise:
- Place your thumb and index finger on your right nostril as you breathe in through your left nostril.
- Switch and press down on your left nostril and breathe out through the right. Continue with an inhalation through your right nostril.
- Switch again, pressing down once more on your right nostril and breathe out through the left. Then inhale again through that same left nostril.
5 minutes of this should do the trick, but repeat for as long as you'd like!
4) Slow, Steady Exhales
When it comes to alleviating anxiety, we're all about an elongated exhale. This super simple breathing technique is extremely effective.
All you have to do is:
- Breathe out slowly, steadily, and gently.
- Continue for at least 2 minutes or as long as you'd like.
By focusing solely on your out-breath, you'll find that your in-breath naturally lengthens, your heart rate slows down, and your body relaxes.
5) Air Therapy: Essential Oils to the Rescue
Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for centuries, and we can understand why. Through the use of certain oils, we've experienced boosted levels of balance, calm, and rejuvenation. Here are some of our favorite natural fragrances:
If you are on a quest for calm, you will love this NOW Organic Lavender Essential Oil.
When you want to keep things feeling clean and fresh, try diffusing a little bit of this NOW Clear the Air/Purifying Essential Oil.
To keep those pesky allergies at bay, place a drop or two of Aura Cacia Eucalyptus 100% Pure Essential Oil into your palm, rub your hands together, and inhale. Your sinuses will be thanking you for the entire season.
What are some of your favorite breathing techniques? Let us know with a comment!