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The Art of Relaxing Breath

A warm welcome to you, dear family! We are so excited to have you join us as we explore the serene world of relaxing breathwork techniques, designed to bring tranquility to your body, mind, and spirit. This guide is your key to understanding and embracing the power of slow, conscious, and connected breathing.


How We Breathe

Observing the rhythmic breath of a baby reveals the essence of "slow and low" breathing—gentle, consistent, and primarily through the nose, extending deep into the belly. Unfortunately, many adults in the western world adopt shallow mouth breathing into the chest, especially during stressful moments.


The hectic pace of modern life, coupled with microstressors, conditions us into rapid, shallow breathing, triggering the sympathetic nervous system's stress response. This constant state of alertness, known as fight or flight, can be detrimental to our physical and emotional well-being.


Understanding Microstresses

Microstresses are subtle yet impactful moments of stress that accumulate over time. These seemingly manageable stressors, like a worrying text or a demanding colleague, embed themselves in our minds, contributing to long-term energy depletion and a decline in overall well-being.


Combined with factors like sugary foods, inadequate sleep, and low physical activity, these microstressors perpetuate unhealthy breathing patterns, exacerbating the stress response.


The Science Behind Relaxing Breathwork

Relaxing breathwork is a transformative practice that counteracts stress and anxiety through deliberate, slow breathing. Deep inhalation through the nose into the belly activates the ventral vagal parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a state of calm, connectedness, and rest and digest—a stark contrast to the fight or flight response triggered by shallow mouth breathing.


Benefits of Relaxing Breathwork

Embracing relaxing breathwork goes beyond achieving a state of calm. The benefits are wide-ranging and include:

  • Decreased blood pressure

  • Improved stress control

  • Enhanced intuition and creativity

  • Reduced inflammation

  • Heightened focus and clarity

  • Improved digestion

When to Use Relaxing Breathwork

Relaxing breathwork becomes a powerful tool when faced with stress, anxiety, or emotional triggers. Implementing any of the relaxing breath practices detailed below helps in swiftly combatting micro-stressors and regaining inner balance.


Types of Relaxing Breath Practices

Discover a variety of relaxing breathwork practices, each offering a unique pathway to tranquility. In this guide, we'll delve into three styles to provide you with a deeper understanding.


1. Foundational Breath

Also known as Breath of Bliss, Foundational Breath incorporates Ujjayi Breathing, translating to Victorious Breath in Sanskrit. This technique involves inhaling and exhaling through the nose, utilizing the nose's filtration system for high-quality air intake.


How to take a foundational breath:

  • Inhale deeply through the nose, filling the belly, chest, and head.

  • Hold the inhale for 5-10 seconds.

  • Sigh out the breath or swap for Ujjayi breath.

  • Extend the exhale for deeper relaxation.

Best used when short on time, before meetings, presentations, or moments requiring facilitation.


2. Box Breathing

Also known as square breathing, Box Breathing is a simple yet powerful technique that distracts the mind, slows down breathing, and calms the nervous system.


How to practice box breathing:

  • Inhale through the nose for 4-5 seconds.

  • Hold the breath for 4-5 seconds.

  • Exhale through the nose for 4-5 seconds.

  • Hold at the bottom for 4-5 seconds.

  • Repeat for about 30 cycles or 5-10 minutes.

3. Nadi Shodhana

Also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, Nadi Shodhana is a profound practice with extensive benefits, including improved oxygenation, stress reduction, and hormonal balance.


How to practice Nadi Shodhana:

  • Choose a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes.

  • Inhale through the left nostril, exhale through the right, and vice versa.

  • Continue for several rounds, maintaining slow and gentle breaths.

The benefits extend to channel clearing, mental clarity, and balance between the left and right brain hemispheres.


Conclusion

Incorporating relaxing breathwork techniques into your daily routine allows you to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, guiding you back to a state of rest and digest. The beauty of these practices lies in their versatility—usable anywhere and at any time to instantly relax, rest, and be present.


As you embark on your journey of self-discovery through breath, may you find solace and tranquility in the rhythm of each inhale and exhale. Remember, the power to calm your body, mind, and spirit lies within your breath.

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