Curate Your Mental State: Breathwork for Positivity & Peace
You may not have realized before just how powerful taking a deep breath is and how much it can help you to practice simple breathing exercises each day.
Some of the benefits you can get from these simple yogic breathing exercises include being able to cope with stress better, feeling less anxiety throughout the day, being able to respond and react with a more calm mind, and the ability to calm yourself no matter what unexpected occurrences happen during the day.
Just think, the next time you get one of those texts that makes you feel angry or doesn’t allow you to maintain a peaceful state of mind, you can just use a breathing technique to help you regain your sense of calm.
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3 Breathing Techniques To Feel Peaceful
You can start training your mind and body to become more peaceful and positive on a regular basis by adding what the yogis call pranayama (which is the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises) to your daily routine.
1. Left Nostril Breathing
The first technique, called left nostril breathing, is a breathing technique that activates a state of relaxation by activating your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that helps us rest and recover instead of being in fight or flight mode. The left side of the body in Eastern healing modalities is linked with yin energy which is receiving, comforting, and healing. Essentially, you will block the right nostril so that you breathe only through the left nostril.
You can do this by simply placing the right thumb over the right nostril so the left one is still open. Sit with a straight spine and breathe slowly for one or three minutes and notice how calm you feel. Try to bring in more oxygen than usual and exhale completely on each breath. Over time this will build your breath capacity making it easier and allowing you to bring in more oxygen which will make the technique even more effective.
2. 1-Minute Breath
A second breathing technique you can do anytime is also one that is done by just breathing through the nose. The one-minute breath is something that takes time to master. It is essentially done by breathing in for twenty seconds, holding the breath for twenty seconds, and breathing out for twenty seconds. However, most people cannot do the full twenty seconds so choose a time that works and do the same amount of time for each segment of the breath for three minutes. For example, breathe in for seven seconds, hold for seven seconds, and breathe out for seven seconds.
3. Ujjayi Breathing
A third breathing technique is ujjayi breathing. This is what is usually taught in vinyasa and hatha yoga classes. It is again, only done through the nose. By constricting the back of your throat slightly, you create a smaller air passageway which will slow the amount of air that passes in and out. It will also create a sound that people often say sounds like waves crashing on the beach. The sound helps soothe the inner ear and also calms the nerves. You can breathe slowly and deeply like this as long as you want to help calm yourself. Try to do it for one or three minutes to start and notice how you feel. Really fill the lungs as you breathe in as much as you can and slowly exhale emptying the lungs completely.
2 Breathing Techniques to Feel Positive
If you’re looking to fill your lungs and body with positivity, here are some techniques that we suggest.
1. Breath of Fire
Breathe of fire is a technique that can help you feel more positive and energized. It is another breathing technique that is done through the nose and it involves engaging your stomach. Sit with a tall spine and quickly shoot the energy out of your nose as you snap your belly in towards your spine. Allow the inhale to happen naturally and let the stomach relax. Then again push the air quickly in one shot out of your nose while snapping in the belly.
Continue in a rhythm at a pace of one breath per second. If you can do that easily, try doing two breaths per second. You can do breath of fire for one minute, three minutes, five, ten or even thirty minutes. Work your way up over time as you get used to it. It will make you feel positive, clear-headed, creative and optimistic about life. Friends, please note, this technique is not to be used while pregnant or on your period.
2. ‘O’ Mouth Breathing
‘O’ mouth breathing is a powerful energy shifting technique that is done only through the mouth. You will create an ‘O’ shape by opening your mouth and pushing your lips out. Then do the breath of fire technique but this time only breathe through your mouth. Start with one minute and work your way up to three or five minutes. This helps clear your aura of negative energy and fills your energy field with prana. Prana, the root of the word pranayama, means life force.
It is common when you first start to practice breathing techniques that it is hard to focus, that you feel out of breath, have difficulty establishing a rhythm, and even get side cramps. As you build the intercostal muscles between the ribs, you will be able to expand the lungs more and you will feel it’s much easier to take deep breaths. You will find you also feel an elated state from deep breathing as your blood and brain flood with oxygen.
Breathing techniques passed to us from different modalities open the mystical doorway to the third eye, increase our energy, help us rebuild our strength, and help build confidence and creativity. Many Eastern modalities of healing, in addition to yoga, involve breathing at the core of their practice. Qi gong and tai chi are both great techniques that bring a sense of peace to the mind and body as well.
One final note is that you can incorporate calming and uplifting essential oils to your breathing practice to further enhance the relaxation of your exercises!
Related Article: Breathe Deeply: A Meditation for Stress Relief