Breathwork: Two Simple Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress
Time: 2 to 6 minutes
Begin or end your day with breathwork, which allows you to take time to calm and center yourself.
This technique, equal breathing, engages the parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body’s reaction to fight or flight. When our bodies are more relaxed, we are able to think more clearly and calmly, focusing on positive goals for the day. This type of relaxation also helps us to take a moment to change a situation or habit.
To practice equal breath, sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes or relax your eyes in soft focus. Breathe in, inhaling through your nostrils and drawing breath into your abdomen while counting 1-2-3-4. Then exhale through your nostrils counting 1-2-3-4. Repeat this breathwork exercise 3 to 6 times.
Time: 10 minutes
This breathing exercise deepens the equal breathing exercise and is best practiced daily for 6 to 8 weeks. Abdominal breathing deepens the effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to expand the lungs and diaphragm while reducing your hear rate and blood pressure and encouraging a sense of well-being.
To practice abdominal breathing, sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes or relax your eyes in soft focus. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your navel. Breathe in, inhaling through your nostrils and drawing breath into your abdomen while counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Exhale through your nostrils counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Repeat this breathwork exercise 10 times