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Elena Rogers
Work with your hormones, not against them
Receive meal plans adapted to your needs based on your life phase
Get tips on how you feel each day
Understand which foods are best for your body and your goal
Get to know yourself better and create a healthy lifestyle that works for you
Go ahead, move one step to your goals
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When we get stressed, focusing on our breath might not be what first comes to mind. Instead, our thoughts start racing, and we anxiously search the past for answers or jump to conclusions about the future. 

Our anxiety and stress levels can multiply without us even being aware of the consequences. We often work ourselves up, and then suddenly, we're way more stressed than we were a minute ago. When you find yourself going down this slippery slope, stop and breathe!

Use your breath as an anchor to come back to the present moment. What's in your control is the exact moment you're in. You're no longer in control of whatever happened during that work meeting an hour ago, and you can only complete those other tasks on your to-do list once you get home in the evening. So why worry about it now?

Focusing on deep breaths can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which nurtures a state of calmness within the body. When you bring awareness to your breath, you let go of the thoughts and worries currently controlling your mind. 

Breathwork, or the practice of breathing exercises and techniques, is a tool that can be used to calm the body and quiet the mind whenever you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just a bit off. It can be intimidating when selecting which one to try, as there are numerous popular breathwork techniques. Not knowing where to begin might get you worked up, and we definitely don't want that!

Our team has selected five practical and easy-to-follow techniques to help you start your breathwork journey. Like almost every habit we create for ourselves, these techniques take time and practice to reap the full benefits. But even after just one session, you'll hopefully notice how your mind might be a little quieter, your heart might be beating a little more evenly, and you may become just a bit more aware of your surroundings. 

1. Humming bee breath (bhramari)

You might have tried this technique before in a yoga class. The goal is to create a light humming sound to help soothe tension in your forehead and create calmness. 

  1. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and release the tension in your face.
  2. Place your index fingers on the cartilage between your cheek and ear.
  3. Inhale, and as you exhale, press your fingers into this area.
  4. Keep your mouth closed, and make a loud humming sound. 
  5. Continue this practice, repeating it five to nine times. 

2. Box breathing

Box breathing, also known as square breathing, helps you slow down your breathing and calm your nervous system. It's simple yet powerful, as it'll reduce stress, allowing you to recenter yourself. 

  1. Sit with your back against a chair and your feet on the floor. 
  2. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose, counting slowly to four. 
  3. Hold your breath while counting to four, retaining the air in your lungs. 
  4. Slowly exhale for four seconds. 
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. 

3. Equal Breathing

Equal breathing, also called sama vritti in Sanskrit, brings balance and tranquility into your present moment. By focusing on making your inhales and exhales the same length, you'll experience calmness and relaxation. Find a breath length that works for you; usually, this is between three and five counts. 

  1. Sit comfortably. 
  2. Breathe in and out through your nose, counting during each inhale and exhale for the same amount of time. 
  3. You can retain your breath after each inhale and exhale if this feels comfortable to you. 
  4. Continue for at least five minutes. 

4. Breathe Focus Technique

When picturing images that make you smile, or words that help you feel relaxed, you can wash away tension and anxiety. If you're unsure which phrases to choose, some of our favorite ones are "peace, let go, relax, this too shall pass, inhale peace and exhale tension."

  1. Sit comfortably or lie down. 
  2. Bring awareness to your breath without trying to control it.
  3. Alternate between normal and deep breaths. Notice how your abdomen expands as you begin to breathe deeper. 
  4. Place one hand on your belly and become in tune with your body. Notice how your stomach rises and falls every time you take a breath. 
  5. Sigh loudly with each exhale. 
  6. After repeating this for several minutes, begin by combining your deep breaths with imagery or words. 
  7. Picture yourself being in a peaceful place. Keep your eyes closed and imagine looking around, taking in your surroundings. 
  8. As you begin to feel more relaxed, being in a place mentally that brings you calmness, start repeating the phrase you chose in the beginning. 
  9. Imagine that you breathe peace and stillness into your body every time you breathe in. 
  10. Every time you exhale, you exhale any tension or stress your body is holding on to. 
  11. Repeat this practice for up to 10 minutes. As you feel more comfortable, increase the practice to 20 minutes. 

5. Alternate-Nostril Breathing

Nadi shodhana, or alternate-nostril breathing, works by blocking off one nostril as you breathe through the other nostril. The goal is to create a regular pattern by alternating breathing between nostrils. 

  1. Find a comfortable seated position, maintaining your back straight. 
  2. Bend your right pointer and middle fingers into your palm, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinky extended. We recommend googling Vishnu mudra if you need to visualize the hand gesture. 
  3. Close your eyes, and inhale and exhale. 
  4. Close off your right nostril with your thumb. 
  5. Inhale through your left nostril. 
  6. Close off your left nostril with your ring finger.
  7. Open and exhale through your right nostril. 
  8. Inhale through your right nostril.
  9. Close off your right nostril with your thumb.
  10. Open and exhale through your left nostril.
  11. Inhale through your left nostril.
  12. Repeat for five to ten cycles, allowing your mind to fully let go of any thoughts. Maintaining your breath consistently is key. 

Try these breathing exercises to see which technique works best for you. You can perform these exercises throughout the day, and we recommend always turning to them when you find yourself getting worked up and stressed. Becoming aware of your stressors and what might cause you to start feeling off is an essential part of your health journey. 

Always refer to your doctor when in doubt or if you have any medical concerns.