Our 3 Favorite Breathing Techniques
If you’re a regular reader, you probably know we are fans of meditation. We may not be perfect at it, but we try every day to deepen, or at least continue, our practice. It helps us find focus, grounding, and perspective. When the world threatens to put everything on your shoulders, it helps to sit down and take a breather. It puts everything in perspective and reveals that all is not lost, that there’s still hope. It gives you some space from all the stresses and anguish that may be coming down on you. It also helps you realize that this is just a current mental state and that it is and always will be fluid.
To get into a meditation practice, it’s always a good idea to start with breathing. This helps calm the mind down and pushes it to focus on one thing: your breath. Below are our three favorite breathing techniques to clear the mind:
1. Breath counting. This is a great technique to start out with if you’re a beginner. All you need to know how to do is breathe and count to ten. Can’t be that hard, right? To do this one, close your eyes and find your breath. Inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4 and so on and so forth until you get to ten. Once you arrive at ten, start again at one and repeat. It’s okay if your mind starts to wander, just bring it back and start again. This is a great way to start your meditation.
2. Slow breath counting. This might be my favorite of the three. For this one, we’re still counting the breath, but in a more complex way. We are going to count each part of the breath while we extend the breath. Inhale for a count of three, hold for a count of three, and exhale for a count of three. This may seem tough, but it’s doable. It’s also excellent because it really requires you to focus on extending the breath so your mind isn’t jumping to other thoughts. If you can handle counts of three, try counts of four!
3. Nostril breathing. I’m sure that’s not the official name of this technique, but that’s what I call it. For this one, you’re going to use your hands. Using your thumb and middle finger, start by holding one nostril shut. Breathe through the open nostril, then close the open one and open the closed one and breathe out through that one. Breathe in through that one, switch your fingers and exhale out the other. It sounds more complicated than it is. I’m inhaling through my right nostril while the left one is closed, then I’m opening the left nostril to exhale. And repeat. This is a great one for enhancing focus since it is an engaging breathing technique.
Breathing techniques can save you in difficult situations. They can increase focus, provide clarity, and enhance productivity. I try to use one of these daily to get me through. Plus, these don’t take a lot of time if you don’t want them to. It’s all up to you. I encourage you to try it out and see how it makes you feel. Use these breathing techniques to stay hungry and fit!