Breath is a gift that we carry from birth to our death. One of its amazing characteristics is that is can help us activate both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system responds to a perception of stress or danger, increasing the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body's "rest and digest" response, which is activated during times of rest and relaxation. When activated, this system causes a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate.
In other words, controlling how we breathe can help us relax and modulate our energy. This is very helpful when we want to shift our internal state.
There are many forms of breathwork, experiment with different techniques and see what works for you. You can also try new patterns, it's your body and your breathing, so you'll be the ultimate judge about what kind of controlled breathing is most helpful to you.
Always check with a medical professional if you have pre-existing conditions or are pregannt before doing breathwork. Start slowly and stop if you aren't feeling well.
This technique involves breathing deeply from your diaphragm, rather than from your chest. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, and inhale deeply through your nose. As you inhale, focus on expanding your stomach and pushing your hand up, then exhale through your mouth and feel your hand lower.
Also known as square breathing, this technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and then holding your breath for a count of four before starting again. Make sure to relax while you are doing the holds.
Inhale for 4 seconds, then breathe out for 8 through the nose.
Alternate nostril breathing
This technique involves breathing in through one nostril and out through the other, alternating nostrils with each breath. Close one nostril with your finger and inhale through the other, then close that nostril and exhale through the other.
Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds. Then, block the ear cartilage, breathe out with hum for as long as you want
Active in breath through nose, followed by passive out breath through nose (let the air just flow out naturally.). Every few minutes, breath in belly, then chest and then your throat, hum out while making any movements you would lke.
In through bottom of stomach
In through top of the chest
Then let it all out through the mouth
Wim Hof method
This technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight. Repeat this cycle for several rounds.
In for 5 through nose, out for 7 through mouth. Make sure you keep your jaw relaxed.
No break between deep in (nose) and out (mouth).
Both make sound and have a rolling quality.
Ujjayi (Ocean breath)
Slightly close throat and breathe how you would when you’re whispering
Inhale through nose, out through throat while closing throat
Other techniques: Kapalabhati, Bhramari, Lion's breath, Dragon's breaht, Hissing breath, Cooling breath, Alternate nostril breathing.
"The Healing Power of the Breath" by Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg: This book explores the science and practice of breathwork as a tool for managing stress, anxiety, and other health issues. It includes a variety of breathing exercises and techniques, as well as guidance on how to integrate breathwork into your daily life.
"Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art" by James Nestor: This book provides a comprehensive exploration of the science and history of breathwork. It offers practical advice and techniques for optimizing your breathing for better health and wellbeing.
"The Art of Breathing" by Dr. Danny Penman: This book presents a series of mindfulness-based breathing practices designed to reduce stress, improve focus, and increase overall wellbeing. It includes guided meditations and exercises to help readers develop a regular breathwork practice.
"Breatheology" by Stig Severinsen: This book offers a comprehensive guide to the art and science of breathwork for peak performance. It includes breathing exercises for improving physical and mental performance, as well as guidance on how to use breathwork for stress reduction and relaxation.
"The Tao of Natural Breathing" by Dennis Lewis: This book explores the principles of Taoist philosophy as they apply to breathwork. It offers a variety of breathing exercises and techniques for improving physical and mental health, as well as guidance on how to cultivate a deeper awareness of the breath.