15 Easy Breathing Techniques to Help You Take 5 Minutes Out of Your Day To Be Present

15 Easy Breathing Techniques to Help You Take 5 Minutes Out of Your Day To Be Present

via Well & Good by Erin Bunch

These days, whenever you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, angry, sad, or really any emotion outside of happiness, the first piece of advice most people are apt to give is, “Have you tried meditating?” But… meditation is difficult, and not for everyone! That’s why its calming cousin—breathwork—is so clutch.

Breathwork is an ancient healing technique, with science to back its effectiveness as a calming agent due to its activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Verses meditation, it can be easier for people to add to their mental health toolbox because it doesn’t require you to battle the voices in your head; instead, it lets your body do the work of bringing you out of past sadness or future fear and into the present moment.

One of the best things about breathwork is that it can be done pretty much anywhere under just about any circumstance, and you don’t need a wide window of time for it, either. In fact, most breath-centric calming exercises show effectiveness in five minutes or less. Below, find 15 such practices to incorporate into your daily zen routine, or to lean on in moments of mental health crisis.

1. Breath awareness

One of the simplest ways to ground yourself, especially if you’re new to breathwork, is to simply become aware of your breath. “Bringing attention to our breathing patterns, whether on or off the mat, is incredibly soothing for the nervous system,” says Reiki master and certified yoga and meditation teacher Nina Endrst. There is no secret sauce to this technique—you just need to focus your attention on your inhales and exhales, noting their rhythm, depth, and/or feeling, etc.

2. Breath counting

If you’d like more of an anchor to hold your focus, you can try counting each breath as you notice it. “Visualize the air going into the nose, and then watch it come out, and one can count that normal breathing process,” says gastroenterologist Avanish Aggarwal, MD. “If you lose track, go back to one and start counting the breathing again.” Dr. Aggarwal recommends breathwork specifically to help calm finicky stomachs because it activates the vagus nerve, which helps to regulate the gastrointestinal system.

3. Low belly inhale with long exhale

“I like to start all mediations I teach with a series of deep, low-belly inhales, followed by a longer exhale,” says meditation and breathwork expert Kristina Headrick. “The longer exhales are how you ‘hack’ the vagus nerve.”

4. Lion’s breath

For a more intensive experience, try this fiery and cathartic technique. First, close your eyes and take a full, deep inhale through the nose. On the exhale, open the mouth wide and stick out your tongue, emptying your breath completely while making a “ha” sound. Repeat for as many rounds as you’d like.

5. Breath extension

For this one, start by inhaling for four to five counts. Then, hold the breath in for four counts before exhaling fully through the mouth while making whatever noise feels natural. “Let the sound come through, no matter how weird or uncomfortable it is,” Endrst says. “Sound is a healthy and healing vibrational tool.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE