Breathing Techniques

Lauren Hill, LMHC, RYT

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Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing” The Balancing Breath-To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four (all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath). More advanced yogis can aim for six to eight counts per breath with the same goal in mind: Calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, this breath can help take your mind off racing or distracting thoughts.

Abdominal Breathing Technique Stress Reducing Breath-With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: Six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure.

Nadi Shodhana or "Alternate Nostril Breathing" Energizing Breath-Hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb, and exhaling through the left nostril. This breath unites the right and left sides of the brain for a calm and balanced feeling.

Kapalabhati or "Skull Shining Breath" Clearing Breath-Begin with a long, slow inhale, followed by quick, powerful exhales generated from the lower belly. It will warm up the body, shake off stale energy, and wake up the brain.