Sound hokey? No so fast! Breath = life.

Breath work is actually a really important part of meditation, but it can also be done on its own as a way to calm anxiety, tame stress, or even give you a jolt of energy.

Breath work can involve working to increase your inhale/exhale time, counting the timing of your breaths, or even a particular pattern or rhythm for your inhales and exhales. There are different strategies depending on what your goal for your breath work is.

Here's how to make your breath work for your situation:

BASICS:

*Calming:

Lengthen your exhale longer than the inhale, or hold your breath before you take another inhale = slowing down your nervous system.

*Energizing:

‚ÄčLengthen your inhales longer than the exhale, or hold your breath before you exhale = speeding up your nervous system.

>>>BREATH WORK FOR FOCUS <<<

{Alternate Nostril Breathing}

  1. Find a comfy position, sitting.
  2. Starting with your right hand, place your index and middle finger in the center of your forehead.
  3. Touch the right side of your nose with your thumb, and the left side with your ring and pinky finger. 
  4. Take three big, even inhales, then exhales with both nostrils open. 
  5. Gently push the left nostril closed to inhale with the right nostril.
  6. Then, switching sides of pressure on your nose, open the left nostril, gently push the right side closed, and exhale. 
  7. Next, keep fingers in the same position and inhale through the left side, switch pressure on your fingers, and exhale through the right side.
  8. Repeat this pattern back and forth for ten total rounds.
  9. When finished, place both hands in the lap and take a few cleansing breaths.

>>>BREATH WORK FOR CALM <<<

{Sukha Pranayama}

  1. Find a comfy position, sitting.
  2. Give three complete, deep inhales and exhales.
  3. With each exhale, give a big sigh.
  4. Then begin counting to 6 on each inhale, and 6 for each exhale.
  5. Continue this until you finally reach calmness.

>>>BREATH WORK FOR ENERGY <<<

{Extended Exhale Pranayama}

  1. Find a comfy position, sitting.
  2. Give three complete, deep inhales and exhales.
  3. With each exhale, give a big sigh.
  4. On the fourth breath, inhale through your nose, count to four, and expand your rib cage and belly for a count of 4.
  5. Hold for 2 counts;
  6. Exhale through your nose while deflating the belly for a count of 8.
  7. Go through this pattern nine times.
  8. When finished, let the breath return to its normal pace.

Want to learn more about breath-work?

Check out the RECOMMENDED page for books!

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