As we begin a new year often, we all look to change our habits in order to help improve our health and well-being.
Breathing is something we do unconsciously, all the time. Focussing on breathing techniques can really help with relaxation, stress reduction, and mindfulness.
Here are three breathing techniques for you to try.
- Box Breathing (Four-Square Breathing)
- Sit comfortably or lie down in a relaxed position.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to four.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of four.
- Hold your breath again for a count of four before beginning the next cycle.
- Repeat this sequence for several minutes, focusing on the evenness of your breath and the counts.
- Deep Belly Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing):
- Sit or lie down comfortably with one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Inhale slowly through your nose, letting your abdomen rise and expand. Ensure your chest remains relatively still.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your belly fall inward.
- Continue this deep, slow breathing pattern for several minutes, allowing your breath to deepen with each cycle.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana):
- Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
- Use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril.
- Close your left nostril with your right ring finger, release your thumb, and exhale through your right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril, close it with your thumb, release your left nostril, and exhale through the left nostril.
- Continue this alternate pattern for several minutes, focusing on the breath and maintaining a smooth, steady rhythm.
These exercises can be practiced individually or in combination based on your comfort and preference. They are beneficial for calming the mind, reducing stress, and promoting a sense of relaxation and focus. Adjust the pace and duration to suit your comfort level and gradually increase as you become more accustomed to these techniques.