How to Improve your Breathwork

Breathing is an important aspect of physical and mental well-being that is often overlooked.

We live our lives without giving it much thought, but it’s the foundation for our health and vitality.

Breathwork can help you achieve your fitness and health goals .

Learn 4 breathing techniques that you can practice anytime to feel better and perform better lead a healthier lifestyle .

Diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing is a form of breath control that relies on your diaphragm muscle (located directly beneath your lungs), rather than your chest, to regulate your breath.

Your sympathetic nervous system is activated when your breath rises high in your chest. This system controls your fight-or-flight and ready-for action responses. This can increase your blood pressure and heart rate, and cause feelings of anxiety and stress.

When you breathe slowly and low into your stomach, you activate the parasympathetic system –the system that allows you to “rest and digest”.

It will help you relax and calm down when you feel stressed, anxious, or nervous. You should practice it often so you can change your breathing pattern quickly when needed.

Box breathing

Box Breathing is a form of breathwork that involves holding your breath intermittently for a few second.

A “box” is a set of four steps that each last the same amount of time.

You will count in your mind the seconds up to four. This is done by counting 2, 3, 4 and then 1, 2, 3. 4, 1, 2, 3. 4, etc.

  1. Inhale for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold the inhaled breath 4 seconds.
  3. Exhale for 4 seconds.
  4. Inhale for four seconds, then pause again.

Repeat this for several minutes or as necessary.

Although there are many variations to box breathing, this is a good place to start.

Alternate Nostril breathing

The alternate nostril breathing technique is a type yoga breathing that helps to reduce anxiety and improve focus.

The name of this technique is fairly self-explanatory–you breathe through one nostril, and then you breathe through the other, alternating back and forth.

  1. Gently close your nostril by pressing your finger against the side.
  2. Inhale slowly through the left nostril.
  3. Close your left nostril while releasing your right nostril.
  4. Slowly exhale through the right nostril.
  5. Inhale using your right nostril.
  6. Close your right nostril once more.
  7. Exhale from your left nostril.
  8. Repeat this for several minutes. After each inhalation, switch nostrils.

With some practice you can combine this breathing exercise with box breathing.

Lion’s Breath

Lion’s Breath (or “Simhasana”, in Sanskrit) is a breathwork which involves a loud, forceful, out-of-mouth exhalation.

  1. Inhale deeply through your nose.
  2. Make a “hah” sound by sticking your tongue out and exhaling through your mouth.
  3. Repeat the exercise several times. Make the “ha” as loud as possible.

The Lion’s breath is a wonderful way to relieve tension and calm your mind. It’s a good technique to use when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.

Stop the breathwork exercise immediately if you feel any discomfort or physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness or any other physical symptoms. Return to your normal breathing rhythm.