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Breathing and meditation exercises: How it works, benefits, and uses


How it works, benefits, and uses

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety or help people get to sleep. Some proponents claim that the method helps people get to sleep in 1 minute.

There is limited scientific research to support this method, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that this type of deep, rhythmic breathing is relaxing and may help ease people into sleep.

In this article, we look at how to perform this breathing technique, why it might work, and apps that could help.

Share on PinterestPracticing the 4-7-8 breathing technique can help with reducing anxiety and falling asleep.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique requires a person to focus on taking a long, deep breath in and out. Rhythmic breathing is a core part of many meditation and yoga practices as it promotes relaxation.

Dr. Andrew Weil teaches the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which he believes can help with the following:

  • reducing anxiety
  • helping a person get to sleep
  • managing cravings
  • controlling or reducing anger responses

Dr. Weil is a celebrity doctor and the founder and director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

Before starting the breathing pattern, adopt a comfortable sitting position and place the tip of the tongue on the tissue right behind the top front teeth.

To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

  • empty the lungs of air
  • breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
  • hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
  • exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
  • repeat the cycle up to 4 times

Dr. Weil recommends using the technique at least twice a day to start seeing the benefits sooner. He also suggests that people avoid doing more than four breath cycles in a row until they have more practice with the technique.

A person may feel lightheaded after doing this for the first few times. Therefore, it is advisable to try this technique when sitting or lying down to prevent dizziness or falls.

The total number of seconds that the pattern lasts for is less important than keeping the ratio. A person who cannot hold their breath for long enough may try a shorter pattern instead, such as:

  • breathe in through the nose for 2 seconds
  • hold the breath for a count of 3.5 seconds
  • exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds

As long as a person maintains the correct ratio, they may notice benefits after several days or weeks of doing 4-7-8 breathing consistently one to two times a day.

According to some advocates of 4-7-8 breathing, the longer and more frequently a person uses the technique, the more effective it becomes.

There is limited clinical research to support these claims about 4-7-8 breathing or other breathing techniques. The evidence is limited to anecdotal reports from satisfied users.

There is some evidence to suggest that deep breathing techniques have a positive impact on a person’s anxiety and stress levels.

For example, a 2011 review article in Health Science Journal identifies some of the potential health benefits of deep breathing techniques, particularly for deep breathing from the diaphragm. These possible benefits include:

  • decreased fatigue
  • reduced anxiety
  • reduced symptoms of asthma in children and adolescents
  • better stress management
  • reduced hypertension
  • reduced aggressive behavior in adolescent males
  • improved migraine symptoms

Studies suggest that 6 weeks of practicing pranayamic breathing, or breathing that focuses on controlling breath movement, may have a positive effect on a person’s heart rate variability, which correlates with stress, and also improve cognition and anxiety.

Share on PinterestUsing 4-7-8 breathing in conjunction with tai chi may help reduce stress.

There is an association between certain breathing techniques, such as 4-7-8 breathing, and other relaxation techniques. Some people couple this breathing with the following practices:

  • guided imagery
  • progressive muscle relaxation
  • repetitive prayer
  • yoga, tai chi, and qigong
  • mindfulness meditation

The most common uses of 4-7-8 breathing are for reducing stress and anxiety. With frequent use, it reportedly becomes more effective in helping a person manage their stress levels.

This improvement is in contrast to anti-anxiety drugs, which tend to lose some of their effectiveness over time as the body adjusts to them.

People who are interested in trying breathing techniques but unsure of their ability to self-regulate may wish to use an app to help them. People can find apps for various devices in the Apple and Google Play stores.

For example, Breathe is a free app for Apple products, which helps people practice the 4-7-8 breathing method. Overall, the app has good reviews from people who have installed it. It also includes a feature to set reminders to use it regularly during the day.

A free app called Prana Breath: Calm & Meditate is available from the Google Play store. It helps users practice breathing cycles and different methods of breathing for relaxation.

The 4-7-8 breathing pattern and other breathing techniques may offer many potential health benefits, such as helping a person fall asleep faster and lowering their stress levels.

The only reported side effect is lightheadedness. If a person experiences this, they should either stop using the technique or modify the length of their breaths.

Interested mobile users can also try apps to remind them to use the technique throughout the day and help them pace their breathing.

5 Ways to Practice Breath-Focused Meditation

3. Nadi Shodhana and Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing)

Origin: Hinduism

Translation: “Channel purifying”

What It Is: Similar to kundalini, pranayama is a type of meditative practice that involves controlled breathing, turning your focus to your body and finding balance internally. Nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB), is the technique of breathing through one nostril at a time while closing the other nostril manually, to alternate breathing and airflow. According to a study published in December 2017 in Medical Science Monitor Basic Research, ANYB significantly reduced blood pressure and increased alertness. The study showed that systolic blood pressure, the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats, dramatically decreased in participants after 18 minutes of ANYB practice. They were also able to perform a vigilance task in less time.

Additionally, ANYB has been shown to have a balancing effect on the right and left hemispheres of the brain, according to research in the International Journal of Psychophysiology. Hillary Clinton credits this method of breathing for getting her through the aftermath of the presidential election.

How to Do It: Sit comfortably and rest your right hand on your knee while using your left thumb to gently close your left nostril. Inhale slowly through the right nostril, then close it with your ring finger. Take a moment and then exhale through the left nostril. Repeat this on each nostril 5 to 10 times. Research shows that 15 to 18 minutes of alternate nostril breathing is ideal.

4. Zhuanqi (Breathing until the breath is soft)

Origin: Taoism

Translation: “Unite mind and air”

What It Is: Taoist meditation emphasizes quieting the body and mind to find harmony with nature. Zhuanqi, similar to Buddhist meditation, is a meditative breathing technique in Taoism that aims to unite breath and mind by focusing on your breath until it is soft. This can be done by observing the breath until it is quiet. It utilizes the abdominal muscles to elevate the diaphragm and push out air.

How to Do It: Sit comfortably with strong posture and your eyes half closed and fixed on the point of your nose. Breathe with your abdominal muscles until the breath is soft or quiet. To effectively use your abdominal muscles, place your right hand on your stomach and your left on your chest. Breathe deeply and watch which hand moves more and in which direction. The goal is to have the hand on your abdomen move more and in an outward and inward motion.

5. Kumbhaka Pranayamas (Anatara and Bahya) (Intermittent breath retention)

Origin: Hinduism

Translation: “The control of prana through retention of the breath”

What It Is: Kumbhaka pranayamas are a type of breathing exercise that uses intermittent breath holding following inhaling or exhaling. The pause of breath holding should be shorter than the inhaling or exhaling period. Holding air in the lungs after inhaling is called antara (inner) kumbhaka, and momentarily holding the breath following exhaling is called bahya (outer) kumbhaka. A study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that short breath holding was associated with a 56 percent increase in oxygen consumed. Additionally, a study published in January 2018 in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology determined that intermittent breathing could be useful in preventing metabolism issues due to changes in the rate your body uses and burns oxygen.

How to Do It: Sitting with the spine upright, exhale all of the air in your lungs out through your mouth. Close your lips and use your nose to inhale slowly until your lungs are full. For antara, hold the air in your lungs for a count of three to five seconds and then slowly release. To practice bahya, after emptying your lungs, hold your breath for three to five seconds before inhaling.

Whether you’re an experienced meditator or looking for new ways to just take a deep breath, breathing techniques for meditation have been proven to have a wide range of short-term and long-term health benefits.

“Many people come to meditation because they want to feel less stressed out or anxious, to sleep better, or any of these other touted results of the practices,” says Rinzler. “But there’s more to it than just getting a good night’s sleep. The practices are transformational for one’s whole life if given the proper time and instruction.”

Learn The Secrets of Breathing Meditation: Get Calm and Clear Mind Now

By Krystal Childrey | Posted : September 03, 2020

As research continues to show the benefits of deep meditation, more and more people are turning to the practice. While it’s great that more people are seeking out meditation, the reality is many people will give up on the practice before giving it time to work. There are numerous reasons beginners may give up on the practice, but the one complaint repeatedly mentioned is that meditation is too difficult.

As the saying goes, “nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.” Achieving a deep state of meditation takes patience, consistency, and practice to master. However, there is a way to speed up the process. The secret lies in using breathing exercises as a gateway into deeper meditation. Before we dive into the details, let’s take a step back in time and explore how the practice of meditation has evolved over the years.

A brief history of meditation

Meditation has been practiced as a way of life in India for thousands of years, well before becoming a popular wellness trend in the West. Its origins date back to as early as 5,000 BCE when Indians documented evidence of the practice, leaving behind wall art of people seated in meditation postures.

The practice of meditation emerged as part of ancient religious and spiritual traditions. The Vedas, ancient scriptures that form the foundation of Hinduism, are the earliest written evidence of the practice, and the scriptures are a respected source of wisdom worldwide. Meditation is a central component of traditional yoga texts, and it is widely practiced in Buddhism as well. 

Traditionally, meditation was performed as a spiritual practice to explore the existence of the soul and connect to higher levels of consciousness. In these traditions, it is part of a path towards achieving liberation, a state of pure bliss and inner peace that brings about an end to individual suffering. 

As the practice evolved, studies began to emerge regarding meditation’s health benefits, drawing interest from Western society. Mindfulness meditation quickly caught on in the United States to calm the mind and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Other forms of meditation, such as loving-kindness meditation, body-scan meditation, and breath meditation, also became widely-used as self-care techniques.

The breath as a gateway into meditation

Yogis have used pranayama techniques for centuries to regulate the breath and prepare the mind for deep meditation. Even in modern forms of yoga, the breath is a vital part of the practice, allowing the body to flow effortlessly through asanas, or yoga poses.

According to the Yoga Sutras, gaining control over the breath leads to mastery over the mind, and modern science is beginning to catch up to this concept. Research studies suggest that deep breathing exercises can stimulate the vagus nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and producing a calming effect on the mind and body.

Breathing exercises work great even as a standalone practice, but their effects can be even more profound when combined with meditation. During SKY Breath Meditation, individuals perform a series of breathing techniques that vary in frequency and intensity. Independent research has shown incredible results for increasing mindfulness, developing concentration, and decreasing stress and anxiety levels with this breathing meditation.

4 breathing exercises for deeper meditation

Due to our busy lives, the mind has become restless—constantly thinking and processing information. So it’s not surprising that our minds continue to wander when jumping straight into a meditation practice. But what if you took time before your practice to prepare yourself for a deeper experience?

The key to deep meditation is calming the mind and body before your practice, and breathing exercises can do just that. When you start your meditation practice with a clear mind and a relaxed body, you’re more likely to enter into deeper states of meditation. Let’s take a look at 4 breathing exercises you can try before your next session.

1. Bellows breath: Also known as bhastrika in Sanskrit, this pranayama breathing technique involves a series of quick and forceful inhales and exhales. This exercise increases oxygen in the body and sharpens the mind, making it great to perform before your meditation practice. Since this is an energizing breath, avoid performing it right before bed.

How to do it: Sit up tall, relax the shoulders, and take a few deep breaths in and out through the nose. Fill the belly up with air as you inhale. 

  • Make a fist and fold your arms, placing them near your shoulders. 

  • Inhale deeply, raise your hands straight up and open your fists. 

  • Exhale slightly forcefully, bring your arms down next to your shoulders and close your fists.

  • Continue for 20 breaths.

  • Relax with palms on your thighs. 

  • Take a few normal breaths.

  • Continue for two more rounds.

2. Diaphragmatic breathing: You may also hear this technique referred to as deep breathing or belly breathing. Performing the exercise will slow down the sympathetic nervous system, reduce blood pressure, and decrease heart rate, resulting in decreased stress and anxiety. This technique quiets the mind, creating the perfect environment for deep meditation.

How to do it: You can perform this exercise either sitting up or lying down on your back. Place one hand on your belly and the other one on your chest.

  • Take a deep inhale through the nose to a count of 4, filling the belly up like a balloon. The hand on the stomach should rise, while the one on the chest stays still.

  • Take a slight pause at the top of the inhale, and then release the air from the belly to a count of 4, feeling the hand on the stomach lower back to its original position. Again, the hand on the chest should stay in place.

  • Practice this breathing exercise for 3-5 minutes, taking long, deep breaths into the abdomen.

3. 4-7-8 breathing: As its name suggests, this specific breath pattern involves a 4-second inhale, 7-second breath retention, and an 8-second exhale. It’s sometimes referred to as relaxing breath since the exhale is longer than the inhale, which produces a calming effect on the body. This effect results in powerful meditation and can even lead to a night of deep and restful sleep. 

How to do it: Sit up with your back straight, relax the body, and release any muscle tension. Take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.

  • On the next inhale, breathe in through the nose. Fill the belly with air to a count of 4.

  • At the top of the inhale, pause and hold the breath for 7 counts.

  • Slowly breathe out through the mouth, making a whooshing sound as you exhale to a count of 8.

  • Repeat this exercise for 4 rounds.

4. Alternate nostril breathing: In yoga, alternate nostril breathing or nadi shodhana clarifies and purifies the body’s energy channels by alternating breaths between the right and left nostrils. This technique balances out imbalances in the body and creates a clearer headspace for deep meditation. Check out this video for a guided explanation of the technique.

How to do it: Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Place the index and middle fingers of your right hand between your eyebrows. You will use the thumb to plug the right nostril during the exercise, and the ring finger to close off the left nostril.

  • Plug the right nostril with your thumb. Take a deep breath in through the left nostril to a count of 4.

  • Pause at the top of the inhale, release the thumb from the right nostril and plug the left nostril with your ring finger.

  • Slowly breathe out through the right nostril to a count of 4.

  • Begin the flow again, switching sides and breathing in through the right nostril.

  • Repeat for 5-10 cycles.

Take Meditation Practice to a Deeper Level with SKY Breath Meditation

When you’re new to breathing exercises and meditation, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. If you’re feeling stuck in your current practice or need some tips to take your training to the next level, join Beyond Breath—a free online introductory session to SKY Breath Meditation. SKY instructors go through a rigorous training program, and they are always available to help answer your questions. Find a session that works with your busy schedule today!

Krystal Childrey is a health and wellness copywriter located in Seattle, WA. She is a registered yoga teacher, mental health advocate, and member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). When she’s not writing or practicing yoga, she enjoys day hiking across the Pacific Northwest. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Breathing Exercises to Help Reduce Stress

There are countless techniques you can practice, including breathing exercises for stress, increased energy, and general relaxation. The simplest breathing technique is to count your breaths. You start by counting 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale, 3 on the inhale, and so forth. You can choose to count up to five, then repeat back at one, to make sure your attention doesn’t wander. You might want to set a timer, as you would a meditation, or perhaps set your goal for the number of breath cycles you will count.

Box breathing is helpful during extreme stress, where you practice the following process: inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, wait at the very end of the exhale for a count of 4, and repeat. This is a very deep breathing exercise that has been shown to calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system. Slowing down the breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood, which stimulates the response of the vagus nerve to produce feelings of calmness throughout the body.

Alternate nostril breathing, also called Nadi Shodhana, is a practice that can increase energy and calmness. This is best practiced sitting straight with a long spine — take your thumb and close off one nostril, then inhale fully. When your lungs have expanded completely, release your thumb and immediately use your ring finger to close off the opposite nostril and exhale slowly. You will repeat while switching nostrils for your inhales and exhales. In yogic text, this method is said to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain to produce a stable and pure state of mind.

Bellows breath, or Bhastrika, is an extremely energizing practice that is commonly called “breath of fire” in the yoga room (and compared to a cup of coffee). It’s done by sitting down with a long, tall spine, and vigorously breathing in and out of the nose while the abdominal muscles contract and the belly appears to quickly rise and fall. This is one of the more challenging breathing exercises to practice, because of the coordination between the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. It is helpful to learn bellows breath straight from an instructor, then continue the practice at your leisure. It’s recommended to practice first thing in the morning or right around your mid-day slump.

There are many, many more methods you can learn and begin practicing during times of stress, sluggishness, or when you want to simply feel centered. Start by using the short breath sessions in the Headspace app, the counting method, or head to a local class and learn more concentrated techniques. The most advanced stress management tool is right at the tip of your tongue, quite literally, whenever you need it.

Sign up for free today, and start reaping the benefits!

READ NEXT: How to start your own morning meditation routine

TOP 9 Best Breathing Techniques For Meditation and Mindfulness – Mala Prayer

Breathing is the key to achieving mindfulness. It’s essentially why you feel significantly more amazing doing yoga than you do during aerobics; you’re controlling your breathing while treating yourself to all the benefits that follow a calm, steady stream of fresh air.

Oxygen revitalizes you, resets your mind, body and spirit and allows you to feel better. Combine that with meditation and mala beads, and you’ll feel reborn.

However, not all breathing is created equally. You likely learned this in your yoga classes. You have to teach yourself how to breathe properly in order to maximize the benefits, and there are several breathing techniques you can use, in particular, when meditating.

Here are some of our favourite breathing techniques we like to use when meditating with our mala beads.


The Common Yoga Breathing Technique

If you do yoga on the regular, you likely already know this technique as its most commonly used throughout different styles of yoga. It’s often used to calm your breathing, so you can relish the benefits of fresh oxygen. To do this breathing technique, follow these steps:

  1. Take a slow, deep breath in
  2. Pause
  3. Slowly let your breath out
  4. Pause


Equal Breathing

A breathing technique that’s certain to help calm the mind, body and soul is called equal breathing. It’s perfect for reducing stress, calming your nerves and increasing focus, and can be done anywhere and at any time. Here are the steps for this breathing technique:

  1. Take a slow inhale through your nose for a count of four
  2. Slowly exhale through your nose for a count of four


Count for Four

A common breathing technique for meditation is to simply count to four, then count backward from four, all timed with your breath. You can also use different numbers, depending on your preferences but as you’ll see in this post, a count of four seems to be the common denominator. Here are the steps:

  1. Breath in – count one
  2. Breath out – count two
  3. Breath in – count three
  4. Breath out – count forth
  5. Breath in – count three
  6. Breath out – count two
  7. Breath in – count one
  8. Breath out – count two
  9. Repeat


Abdominal Breathing

Abdominal breathing is one of the easiest breathing techniques, so it’s commonly recommended for beginners starting to meditate. However, it works for everyone and can be used in and outside of meditation, as it’s a powerful way to reduce stress at any given time. It also only takes a couple of minutes to do, making it perfect for any type of situation where you need to recollect yourself. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Place one hand on your chest
  2. Place the other hand on your stomach
  3. Take a deep breath in through the nose
  4. Feel your hand on your stomach move as you inflate your diaphragm with air
  5. Slowly release your breath


The Stimulating Breath

The Stimulating Breath is also called the Bellows Breath and it’s great for increasing alertness and energy. It can take some practice to perfect but once you do, you’ll feel invigorated and will become completed addicted to the way it makes you feel. Here are the steps:

  1. Quickly inhale and exhale through your nose, as short as possible, ensuring the duration is equal for both
    1. Aim to get three inhales and exhales per second
  2. Continue for five seconds
  3. Slowly increase your time throughout your practice until you reach one full minute 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Another common breathing technique used during meditation and yoga is the alternate nostril breathing – and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Doing this technique allows you reenergize your mind, body and spirit. Here are the steps:

  1. Plug your right nostril with your right thumb
  2. Take a deep breath through the left nostril
  3. Remove your thumb from your right nostril and plug your left nostril with your ring finger
  4. Slowly exhale
  5. Repeat


The 4-7-8 Count

The 4-7-8 count, also known as the relaxing breath technique, is one of the easiest to do and as a bonus, the benefits are exponential. This exercise can quickly calm the nervous system, so much so that it can feel like your nerves have been tranquilized. So, it’s amazing for anyone looking to calm their mind or who suffers from anxiety or sleep insomnia. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Rest the tip of your tongue at the top back of your teeth
  2. Let out a deep exhale, along with a big sigh or whooshing sound
  3. Close your mouth and slowly inhale through your nose for a count of four
  4. Hold your breath for a count of seven
  5. Exhale deeply and completely for a count of eight, being sure to let out a big sigh or whooshing sound
  6. Repeat


Skull Shining Breath

This breathing technique, also known as Kapalabhati, is a great way to shake off negative energy and warm up your mind, body and spirit. It can be used in the morning, prior to an exam, before your next yoga class or during meditation. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a long, slow breath in
  2. Quickly let out a powerful exhale from your diaphragm out
  3. Repeat


If counting isn’t your thing or you’re simply too overwhelmed, distracted or stressed to keep count, mala beads are the perfect solution. Traditionally, these meditation devices were used to track your breath, sans any counting. You simply move your fingers along the mala beads, one for each breath. The key is to choose the right mala bead for your intention, as the energy from the natural stone can further your meditation and relaxation. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose a mala bead specific to your intention (reason for doing the breathing technique)
  2. Hold the mala bead in your right hand
  3. Drape it between your middle and index finger
  4. Starting at the guru bead, move your thumb along each smaller bead, breathing in for each
  5. Do this 108 times, until you’re back at your guru bead


Mala beads can also be used for every breathing technique mentioned.



Breathing is the easiest, most affordable and inarguably, the most powerful form of therapy. So, choose a breathing technique and some mala beads that suits your needs, and reap the benefits of proper breathing.


6 Ways to Breathe Yourself Calm

Overworked, sleep-deprived, and stressed out? Same. But luckily, there are plenty of ways to regain a sense of calm that don’t require investing a chunk of your paycheck in fancy-schmancy spa treatments.

In fact, one the best relaxation methods is entirely free. All you need is a pair of healthy lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes of “me” time. It’s called controlled breathing.

Controlled breathing exercises can help keep your mind and body in shape, by helping to lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and relieve stress. Herakova N, et al. (2017). Effect of respiratory pattern on automated clinical blood pressure measurement: an observational study with normotensive subjects. DOI: 10.1186/s40885-017-0071-3Naik G, et al. (2018). Effect of modified slow breathing exercise on perceived stress and basal cardiovascular parameters. DOI: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_41_16

While the long-term benefits of breathing exercises haven’t been studied at length (at least in a controlled clinical setting), many experts encourage using the breath as a means of increasing awareness, mindfulness, and putting yourself on the path to Zen.

Ready to harness the power of your inhales and exhales? Here are six expert-approved ways to relax using controlled breathing exercises borrowed from centuries-old yoga and meditation traditions.

This breathing exercise is especially effective before bed. According to yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco, it works similarly to counting sheep.

“If you’re having trouble falling asleep, this breath can help take your mind off the racing thoughts or whatever might be distracting you,” she says.

How to do it: Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Your eyes can be open or closed. Inhale for 4 counts, and then exhale for 4 counts.

All inhalations and exhalations should be made through your nose, which adds a slight, natural resistance to your breath. Once you get these basics down, try 6–8 counts per breath.

The abdominal breathing technique can be really helpful before experiencing a particularly stressful event like taking an exam or giving a big presentation. Oy, our hearts are pounding just thinking about it.

However, Pacheco said, “Those who operate in a stressed state all the time might be a little shocked by how hard it is to control the breath.” So, if the pacing doesn’t come naturally to you at first, don’t sweat it. Just keep practicing.

How to do it: Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing diaphragm (not your chest) to inflate with enough air to create a slight stretching sensation in your lungs. Slowly exhale.

According to physiologist and breathing expert Alison McConnell, taking 6–10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day using this breathing technique can help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.

Keep at it for 6 to 8 weeks, and those benefits might stick around even longer.

The progressive muscle relaxation method works best when you’re sitting at home, in your office chair, or even in your car. By intentionally tensing and then relaxing each muscle group one at a time, you can nix excess tension from head to toe.

How to do it: Close your eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for 2 to 3 seconds. Start with your feet and toes, and then move up to your knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes. Maintain deep, slow breaths the entire time.

Having trouble staying on track? Psychologist and anxiety and panic specialist Patricia Farrell suggests inhaling through your nose, holding for 5 counts while tensing your muscles, and then exhaling through your mouth as you release those muscles.

If holding your breath ever feels uncomfortable, tone it down to just a few seconds.

Experiencing major deadline pressure at work? Try alternate nostril breathing to refocus and reenergize. According to Pacheco, it can help and make you feel more awake and alert. “It’s almost like a cup of coffee,” she says.

How to do it:Start by sitting in a comfortable meditative pose. Hold out your dominant hand and press the tips of your pointer and middle fingers into your palm, leaving your ring finger, pinky finger, and thumb extended.

Bring your hand up in front of your face and press your thumb on the outside of one nostril. Inhale deeply through your open nostril. At the peak of your inhalation, release your thumb, press your ring finger on the outside of your other nostril, and exhale.

Continue this pattern for 1–2 minutes before switching sides so that you inhale through the nostril that you originally used to exhale, and vice versa. Spend equal amounts of time inhaling and exhaling through both nostrils.

This breathing exercise is an alternative to equal breathing that can also help you fall asleep faster. It has roots in yoga’s pranayama, which is all about helping people learn how to gain control over their breath.

How to do it: Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Your eyes can be open or closed. Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, slightly open your mouth, and exhale until you reach the bottom of your breath.

Close your mouth and quietly inhale through your nose for 4 counts. Then hold your breath for 7 counts. Finally, exhale very slowly so that it takes a total of 8 counts to return to the bottom of your breath.

Repeat for 4 full breaths, and work your way up to 8 breaths over time.

Wake up and look on the bright side of life with this breathing exercise. “It’s pretty abdominal-intensive, but it will warm up the body, shake off stale energy, and wake up the brain,” says Pacheco.

If alternate nostril breathing is like a cup of coffee, think of Kapalabhati breathing like a shot of espresso, she added.

How to do it: Begin sitting in an upright position with good posture and your hands on your knees. Take a long, slow inhale through your nose. Then exhale powerfully (also through your nose) by contracting your lower belly.

Your body will naturally inhale again, so focus mainly on your forceful exhales as you continue this fiery breathing technique. Once you’re comfortable with the abdominal contraction component, up your pace to 1 inhale-exhale every 2 seconds for a total of 10 breaths.

Your breath is one of your best defenses against daily stress, frustration, and existential angst. Once you learn the art of expert inhaling and exhaling, you’ll likely start to feel better. You might notice that you’ve developed a little extra resilience and grace.

Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation


Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in the morning or just before you fall asleep. Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.

  • The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.
  • Breathing exercises are easy to learn. You can do them whenever you want, and you don’t need any special tools or equipment to do them.
  • You can do different exercises to see which work best for you.

How do you do breathing exercises?

There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax. The first exercise below—belly breathing—is simple to learn and easy to do. It’s best to start there if you have never done breathing exercises before. The other exercises are more advanced. All of these exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.

Belly breathing

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

  1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
  5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Next steps

After you have mastered belly breathing, you may want to try one of these more advanced breathing exercises. Try all three, and see which one works best for you:

  • 4-7-8 breathing
  • Roll breathing
  • Morning breathing

4-7-8 breathing

This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

  1. To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.
  2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
  3. Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
  4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
  5. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Roll breathing

Roll breathing helps you to develop full use of your lungs and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position. But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees bent.

  1. Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.
  2. Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your “belly” (left) hand goes up when you inhale and your “chest” (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this 8 to 10 times.
  3. When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.
  4. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
  5. Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime you need one.

Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breathe too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.

Morning breathing

Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.

  1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
  2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.
  3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
  4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.
  5. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.


Current as of:
August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Patrice Burgess MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD – Behavioral Health

Current as of: August 31, 2020

Healthwise Staff

Medical Review:Patrice Burgess MD – Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD – Behavioral Health

90,000 Breathing and meditative exercises in human adaptive processes Text of a scientific article in the specialty “Health Sciences”


Zeng Tian

Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosova Mokhovaya st., 11, bldg. 9, Moscow, Russia, 125009

The article raises the question of organizing effective technologies of breathing and meditative exercises with students of a higher educational institution.The obtained results of our own research of various effects of influences during combined and separate practice of breathing and meditative exercises are presented. A conclusion is given on the significant impact on the student’s body of the combined use of breathing and meditative exercises.

Keywords: breathing exercises, meditation, students, informational loads, stress tension, educational process, adaptation, functional states.

The problem of preserving the health of students of general education and higher education is of state importance [2; four; 7], since the prospects for the development of the country, its labor potential, the well-being of its citizens and the power of the country depend on the state of health of graduates [10].

Today, the health of students is one of the urgent problems. Every year the number of students with psycho-functional disorders among those entering universities increases [1; 3].

Therefore, preventive and corrective technologies are so important, which contribute to the improvement of the psychophysical health of student youth of different ages and ethnic groups [5]. Today, there are many different methods to improve the state of human health [6]. However, many of them are difficult to use or require different devices and devices, etc. In this direction, a simple complex of meditative and breathing exercises that are easy to use and give a good healing effect has proven itself well [8; nine].

We studied the influence of the respiratory system and meditative techniques on the health improvement of student youth, in particular on the functional state and physical development of students of different courses (1-4) and faculties (psychological, environmental, philological, historical) of RUDN and Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov.

Materials and research methods. The sample of students from two universities was 101 people: 46 boys (age 18.3-22.7 years) and 55 girls (age 18.1-22.9 years).The widely used and approved system of A.N. Strelnikova and meditative technologies of Zen Buddhism [9; eleven].

The research was carried out during one academic year. Classes were held every other day in the afternoon (at 16:00).

Obtained results and discussion. The total sample of students was divided into three groups: the 1st group (32 people: 15 boys and 17 girls) was engaged in breathing exercises according to the A.N. Strelnikova; Group 2 (34 people: 15 boys and 19 girls) was engaged in breathing exercises according to the system of A.N. Strelnikova and meditation; Control group 3 (35 people: 16 boys and 19 girls) did not engage in breathing exercises and meditation.

Indicators of psychophysical and psycho-functional development of students were determined at the beginning and at the end of the semester (indicators of vital capacity of the lungs (VC), blood pressure (BP), orthostatic test).Initial testing showed that the groups were homogeneous according to Student’s and Fisher’s criteria.

Indicators (Table 1) VC of the 1st group (respiration according to the Strelnikova system) had the highest increase: in autumn VC was 3.1 ± 0.22 L, in spring – 3.7 ± 0.64 L (p <0, 05). VC indices of students of the 2nd group (breathing according to the Strelnikova system plus meditation) also significantly increased VC indices: in autumn 3.1 ± 0.11 l, in spring - 3.5 ± 0.32 l (p <0.05).The increase in VC in the 3rd group was insignificant: in the fall 3.1 ± 0.32 l, in the spring - 3.2 ± 0.28 l (p> 0.05).

Table 1

Dynamics of VC indicators among students of different groups before and after the experiment (n = 101)

Stage 1st group 2nd group 3rd group

research (breathing) (breathing + meditation) (control)

Before experiment 3.1 * ± 0.22 3.1 * ± 0.11 3.1 ± 0.32

After experiment 3.7 * ± 0.64 3.5 * ± 0.32 3.2 ± 0.28

* Significance of differences at the p <0.05 level.

It was found that the combination of breathing exercises according to the Strelnikova system and meditation (group 2) has a good effect on the nervous regulation of the cardiovascular system, as evidenced by the results of the orthostatic test. In autumn, the difference between the heart rate in the supine and standing position was 26 ± 2 beats / min., In the spring it decreased to 21 ± 1 beats / min. (p <0.05), which indicates a beneficial effect on the psycho-functional work of the body. The practice of breathing exercises according to the Strelnikova system (group 1) also showed a positive effect, the difference between the pulse in the lying and standing positions was 3 beats / min.(p <0.05). In the control group, the indices of the orthostatic test remained unchanged.

The same positive effect on the work of the cardiovascular system of students was noted in the groups engaged in breathing exercises according to the Strelnikova system and meditation, and only breathing exercises according to the Strelnikova system (Table 2). For example, in terms of blood pressure indicators, the greatest changes were recorded in the groups engaged in

breathing exercises according to the Strelnikova system and meditation (2nd group) and breathing exercises according to the Strelnikova system (1st group).So, in the fall, the arterial pressure of the students of the 2nd group was 125.4 / 82.3 ± 0.74, in the spring, it decreased to 120.5 / 79.7 ± 0.51 at (p <0.05). A similar situation developed with the students of the 1st group: in the fall - 124.1 / 79.3 ± 1.22 and in the spring - 121.3 / 75.2 ± 0.64 at (p <0.05). In the control group, the indices of the orthostatic test remained unchanged (Table 2).

Table 2

Dynamics of blood pressure indicators among students of different groups before and after the experiment (n = 101)

Stage 1st group 2nd group 3rd group

examinations (breathing) (breathing plus (control)


Before experiment 124.1 / 79.3 * ± 1.22 125.4 / 82.3 * ± 0.74 123.1 / 82.7 ± 0.69

After experiment 121.3 / 75.2 * ± 0.64 120.5 / 79.7 * ± 0.51 123.8 / 83.1 ± 0.88

The data obtained by us are consistent with the results obtained on the sample of female students of the medical group of health (SMG), in which different types of breathing exercises were used (Strelnikova, Buteyko, “Body-flex” system) [6].


The results obtained allow us to conclude that the introduction of a complex of simple health-preserving technologies (breathing and meditation exercises) into the practice of students ‘everyday life allows us to successfully influence the work of the psycho-functional systems of the body, improve adaptation processes and students’ health. The combined use of breathing and meditative exercises has a better effect on the harmonious work of students’ functional systems than with the separate use of breathing exercises and meditation practice.


[1] Arakelov G.G., Glebov V.V. Vegetative components of stress and personal characteristics of patients with borderline disorders // Psychological journal. – 2005. – T. 26. – No. 5. – S. 35-47.

[2] Belova O.A. Somatic health of adolescent schoolchildren. AND.M. Sechenov. – 2004. – T. 90. – No. 8. – P. 352.

[3] Glebov V.V. The level of nutritional and psychophysiological state of students in a large city // Bulletin of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia. Series “Ecology and Life Safety”. – 2012. – No. 2. – P. 45-50.

[4] Glebov V.V., Danacheva M.N., Sidelnikova N.Yu. The functional state of schoolchildren in the metropolitan metropolis // Bulletin of the Moscow City Pedagogical University.Series “Natural Sciences”. – 2012. – T. 2. – S. 72-80.

[5] Glebov V.V., Soshnikov E.A. Adaptation of students from the PRC in the ecology of a metropolitan metropolis // Bulletin of the International Academy of Sciences (Russian section). – 2012. – No. 1. – P. 252—254.

[6] A. A. Gorelov, O. G. Rumba, M. D. Bogoeva. Experimental substantiation of the appropriateness of the use of breathing exercises in the classroom with female students with disorders in the activity of the cardiovascular system // Scientific problems of humanitarian research.- 2009. – No. 2. – P. 66-71.

[7] Danacheva M.N., Nazarov V.A., Glebov V.V. The influence of environmental and hygienic factors on the psychophysiological state of schoolchildren in a megalopolis // World of Science, Culture, Education. – 2010. – No. 6-1. – S. 90-92.

[8] Malakhov G.P. Modern breathing techniques. – Donetsk: Stalker, 2008.

[9] Petrenko V.F., Kucherenko V.V. Psychological aspects of meditation // Bulletin of Moscow University. Series 14: Psychology. – 2008. – No. 1. – P. 68-96.

[10] Platonova T.V., Knyazeva E.V. Meditation as one of the ways of a healthy lifestyle // Bulletin of psychotherapy. – 2007. – T. 28. – No. 23. – S. 103-106.

[11] Son’kin VD, Zaitseva VV, Ivanov SA The influence of a complex of meditation exercises on the psychophysiological state of young men // Human Physiology.- 2006. – T. 32. – No. 5. – S. 128-132.


[1] Arakelov G.G., Glebov V.V. Vegetativnye sostavlyayushhie stressa i lichnostnye osobennosti pacientov, stradayushhix pogranichnymi rasstrojstvami // Psixologicheskij zhurnal. – 2005. – T. 26. – No. 5. – S. 35-47.

[2] Belova O.A. Somaticheskoe zdorov’e shkol’nikov-podrostkov // Rossijskij fiziologicheskij zhurnal im.I.M. Sechenova. – 2004. – T. 90. – No. 8. – S. 352.

[3] Glebov V.V. Uroven ‘pishhevogo i psixofiziologicheskogo sostoyaniya studentov v usloviyax krupnogo goroda // Vestnik Rossijskogo universiteta druzhby narodov. Seriya “E’kologiya i bezopasnost ‘zhiznedeyatel’nosti”. – 2012. – No. 2. – S. 45-50.

[4] Glebov V.V., Danacheva M.N., Sidel’nikova N.Yu. Funkcional’noe sostoyanie shkol’nikov v usloviyax stolichnogo megapolisa // Vestnik Moskovskogo gorodskogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta.Seriya: Estestvennye nauki. – 2012. – T. 2. – S. 72-80.

[5] Glebov V. V., Soshnikov E.A. Adaptaciya studentov iz KNR v usloviyax e’kologii stolichnogo megapolisa // Vestnik Mezhdunarodnoj akademii nauk (Russkaya sekciya). – 2012. – No. 1. – S. 252—254.

[6] Gorelov A.A., Rumba O.G., Bogoeva M.D. E’ksperimental’noe obosnovanie celesoobraznosti primeneniya dyxatel’nyx uprazhnenij na zanyatiyax so studentkami s narusheniyami v deya-tel’nosti serdechno-sosudistoj sistemy // Nauchnye problemy gumanovanitarnyx issled- 2009. – No. 2. – S. 66-71.

[7] Danacheva M.N., Nazarov V.A., Glebov V.V. Vliyanie e’kologicheskix i gigienicheskix faktorov na psixofiziologicheskoe sostoyanie shkol’nikov v usloviyax megapolisa // Mir nauki, kul’tury, obrazovaniya. – 2010. – No. 6-1. – S. 90-92.

[8] Malaxov G.P. Sovremennye dyxatel’nye metodiki. – Doneck: Stalker, 2008.

[9] Petrenko V.F., Kucherenko V.V. Psixologicheskie aspekty meditacii // Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 14: Psixologiya. – 2008. – No. 1. – S. 68-96.

[10] Platonova T.V., Knyazeva E.V. Meditaciya kak odin iz sposobov zdorovogo obraza zhizni // Vestnik psixoterapii. – 2007. – T. 28. – No. 23. – S. 103-106.

[11] Sonkin B.D., Zajceva V.V., Ivanov S.A. Vliyanie kompleksa meditacionnyx uprazhnenij na psixofiziologicheskoe sostoyanie molodyx muzhchin // Fiziologiya cheloveka.- 2006. – T. 32. – No. 5. – S. 128-132.


Zeng Tian

Psychology Faculty M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University Mokhovaya str., 11, p. 9, Moscow, Russia, 125009

In article the question of the organization of effective technologies of respiratory and meditative exercises with students of a higher educational institution is brought up.The received results of own researches about various effects of influence are given at combined and separate practice of respiratory and meditative exercises. The conclusion about significant impact on an organism of the student of sharing of respiratory and meditative exercises is drawn.

Key words: respiratory exercises, meditation, students, information loadings, stressful tension, educational process, adaptation, functional conditions.

90,000 Breathing practices. Meditation. Top 5 exercises

How to do

Iya Kiseleva
Associate Editor, Flacon Magazine

Breathing practices and meditations are increasingly featured on the tape. At first glance, it seems that measured inhalation and exhalation only help to calm down. It turns out that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Breathing is one of the four sources of energy.The other three are nutrition, sleep, and positive emotions. If energy comes fully from all sources, we are healthy and strong. But perfect nutrition, healthy sleep and positive emotions are not so easy to achieve: you need to follow the regime, eat only fresh food, enjoy at least ten things every day. Breathing, on the other hand, is a simple yet amazing source.

There are two pieces of news. Good – we can all breathe. The bad thing is we don’t consciously breathe. Every breath we take should bring energy and tranquility.And the main enemy of calmness is stress. We will understand the breathing system and how to use it in specific situations.

Breathing is directly related to our emotions. When we are frightened or nervous, we breathe unevenly, quickly and shallowly, if calm – evenly and unhurriedly, if calm – slowly. In the opposite direction, it also works.

Just as emotions affect breathing, so breathing can control our state.

All processes in our body, our character and patterns are a series of chemical reactions.Breathing can perfectly influence them – improve memory, strengthen immunity, relieve painful menstruation syndrome.
A logical question arises: since conscious breathing is so omnipotent, why haven’t we heard of it? It’s simple: knowledge is very ancient. This is part of yoga. The teaching came to the Western world not in whole, but in parts. And since people’s requests were more focused on beauty and flexibility, body practices gained popularity.

Below are basic breathing techniques. Each has its own goal: from leveling anxiety to activating the mind.

The simplest.

  • Start breathing deeply and slowly through your nose.
  • To keep your thoughts from scattering, keep counting the duration of the inhalation to yourself. How many have you got? Up to 15-10 times or up to 3 in total?
  • Then start counting how long it takes to exhale. 20 or maybe 5?
  • Your final task is to bring the inhalation and exhalation to a single denominator.

Two or three minutes of practice – and you will notice that you feel calmer.

  • Breathe in with the right nostril, closing the left.
  • Breathe in with the left nostril, closing the right.
  • Breathe through your open mouth, trying to relax your jaw. This will loosen your grip and release the tension.
  • Roll your tongue into a tube: inhale through the tongue, exhale through the nose.

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Iya Kiseleva
Associate Editor, Flacon Magazine

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Pranayama: breathing techniques for beauty and health :: Health :: RBC Style

© Pexels


Irina Rudevich

30 August 2020

We breathe all our lives without thinking about how it happens.By making the process mindful and adding exercise, meditation and self-care to breathing, you can improve your physical and mental health.

What is pranayama

Pranayama in yoga is called breathing techniques to change the state of consciousness.Prana is a Sanskrit word for life force, ayama is expansion or stretching. At the same time, in most areas of yoga, breathing practices are involved, which have a beneficial effect on the body. Every cell in the human body needs oxygen to function properly. Regular practice of controlled breathing can help reduce the effects of stress and improve overall mental and physical health. Techniques help optimize digestion, improve sleep, lose weight, lower body temperature and relieve stress.Initially, pranayama is a part of spiritual practice, but today many people use it exclusively for health care.

The results of practical training in pranayama can be:

  1. Slim
  2. Beautiful skin
  3. Good digestion
  4. Strong Lungs
  5. Healthy circulatory system
  6. Active work of the brain
  7. Deep sleep

Popular techniques of conscious breathing

The positive effect of breathing practices is explained by the principles of biology.By consistently changing the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body, you can influence your well-being, and with regular exercise, you can change your usual physical and psycho-emotional state. After examining 1400 documents that mentioned yogic breathing, the researchers concluded that it has a beneficial effect on neurocognitive, psychophysical, biochemical and metabolic functions of the body [1]. Breathing practices are best practiced under the guidance of a professional.


A study published in the International Journal of Yoga suggests that regular practice of mindful breathing is effective for weight loss [2]. The experiment involved 50 randomly selected healthy people. They were divided into two groups – research and control. 25 people from the first group regularly practiced breathing techniques for six weeks. As a result, their average BMI (body mass index) decreased significantly.Forced breathing can cause increased sweating, similar to cardio exercise.

Kapalabhati breath

When breathing is combined with bodily work, as in the practice of vacuum massage of the abdomen, muscles contract, which helps to get rid of fat deposits in this problem area.


  • Kneel down with your big toes touching
  • Place your palms on your knees, keep your back straight
  • Take a deep breath and exhale forcefully
  • Without inhaling, try to push your belly out and then pull it back in

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2.Beautiful skin

Appearance depends on many factors: adequate sleep, proper nutrition, sports and properly selected cosmetics. Pranayama also helps to maintain health and, by activating blood circulation, improve the condition of the skin. When a person holds their breath, oxygen is supplied to the skin cells. If you combine practice with exercises, alternately pinching the chin with a lowered neck, the effect will increase. But keep in mind that unprepared people should make such “locks” under the supervision of a professional so as not to be injured.An article published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine mentions the antioxidant effects of pranayama [3]. The researchers say that mindful breathing prevents the signs of aging – wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin.

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3. Good digestion

Irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis and hyperacidity are often diagnosed in people with improper diet.These diseases have also been associated with emotional states. A calm mind can affect bowel function. Breathing practices can help manage anxiety, which can improve digestion, including chronic problems. One study showed that the practice of breathing through one nostril significantly improves the well-being of people who have been diagnosed with intestinal problems [4]. Breathing through the right nostril activates the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, and therefore excites.And through the left – parasympathetic – soothes.

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4. Strong Lungs

Mindful breaths in and out train the strength with which the lungs expand and contract. A person learns to hold their breath by maintaining an isometric muscle contraction. Over time, the volume of the lungs increases. Improving the performance of the abdominal and diaphragmatic muscles has a positive effect on the breathing apparatus. Scientists conducted an experiment with the participation of 50 people, who were practicing pranava and savitri pranayama for six weeks for one hour a day, six days a week [5].As a result, it turned out that the dynamic parameters of breathing, including tests for pulmonary function, became slightly better compared to the initial conditions.

Basic breathing exercises

5. Powerful immunity

Stress lowers immunity. Deep breathing exercises focused on the abdomen strengthen the body’s defense mechanisms and boost immunity.The advantages of breathing practices are in the suppression of inflammatory markers activated by stress [7]. These are short breathing exercises that need to be done on a daily basis, but in the long run they give results comparable to regular jogging in the fresh air.

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6. Active work of the brain

Mindful breathing allows you to control your state of mind. Research has shown that pranayama is beneficial for mental performance and mental health [8].The experiment involved 84 people aged 18–25 years. The participants of the experiment practiced the fast exercises: kapalabhati and bhastrika, as well as the slow ones: nadisodhana, pranava and savitri. As a result of the exercise, they showed improvements in cognitive function, auditory memory, and sensory-motor characteristics. The techniques help strengthen the parasympathetic nervous system and enhance its autonomic response. The brain is supplied with oxygen, anxiety goes away, and it is easier for a person to concentrate on thoughts without being distracted by emotions.

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7. Deep sleep

Deep, calm breathing without delay is a good alternative to pharmacy remedies for insomnia. Sleep disturbances are often caused by increased anxiety and depression, so check with your doctor first. Breathing techniques help to restore the nervous system after a hard day and supply the body with oxygen, which promotes sound sleep. During the study, seniors over 59 years of age were practicing twice a week for three months.Classes included simple asanas, meditative yoga, and daily mindful breathing at home. Scientists have concluded that breathing practices help fight insomnia and improve quality of life [9].

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Popular Mindful Breathing Techniques

One of the most famous directions in the respiratory system is pranayama according to B.K.S. Iyengaru, including the following types of techniques:

  1. Ujayi pranayama, or “breath of the winner”: the lungs are dilated, the chest is protruding forward, breathing is slow, lengthened.
  2. Bhramari, or “bumblebee breath”: a soft buzzing sound is produced during exhalation.
  3. Viloma, or “breathing against the grain”: inhalation and exhalation are interrupted by holdings.
  4. Sitali and sitkari: inhalation through the mouth without a “lock” on the chin. In the first case, the tongue is rolled up, in the second, it lies free.
  5. Kapalabhati: inhale and exhale strongly, delayed for a split second.
  6. Anuloma, or “breathing of the natural order of things”: breathing with the alternate closing of the nostrils with the fingers of the hand.
  7. Surya bhedana and chandra bhedana: in the first case, inhale through the right nostril, exhale through the left, in the second, vice versa.

All breathing techniques must be mastered under the guidance of a specialist so as not to harm yourself.

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Expert commentary

Max Kirichenko, psychologist, body-oriented psychotherapist, thanatotherapist-practitioner:

“It is not appropriate to call all breathing practices pranayama. In the fundamental yogic text “Yoga Sutras” Patanjali pranayama is the fourth step of the eight-step yoga, psychotechnics, the purpose of which, like the rest of the steps, is to stop “fluctuations of consciousness.”The work of the Indian philosopher does not talk about any positive, as well as negative, effects of pranayama for the body and health.

In general, breathing practices are much broader than pranayama. Controlled breathing with the aim of deeply changing the state of consciousness is used in many traditional and modern systems – from shamanism to the transpersonal psychology of Stanislav Grof.

If we talk specifically about pranayama, then it is appropriate to call breathing techniques with a long, at least two minutes, holding the breath, which are used in yoga.Long delays can be very dangerous for both physical and mental health, so they should only be mastered under the supervision of experienced teachers. But the methods of conscious breathing without delays is really useful for almost everyone to learn.

First and foremost practice: observe whether you enjoy the breathing process. If not, then it is worth asking the question why and how this pleasure can be returned to yourself.

And the second important practice: observe during the day in which cases you breathe freely, and in which you hold your breath, try not to breathe.Involuntary delays are often associated with difficult feelings to live with. Holding his breath, a person thus tries to unconsciously not come into contact with some feeling, to avoid it. Thus, simply by observing the breath, one can know oneself much better. ”

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90,000 Meditative breathing.How to breathe for the benefit of mind and business? | Psychology

It has long been noted that focusing on our natural processes makes us closer to nature, closer to our nature, strengthens us.

Breathing is the most natural process for a person

So, the essence of the method.When I feel that there is not a brain in my head, but a high-pressure boiler, I understand that it is time to pause. Before, I just tried to go outside, get distracted by something, chat with someone on an abstract topic. Now I use this breathing technique as well.

I get up, close my eyes.I imagine myself standing on the top of a hill, and below there is such beauty: the river glistens in the distance, behind it there is a pine forest, closer to me is a beautiful meadow with bright islands of flowers and flowering shrubs. A fresh breeze blows over me, and I feel the light scent of these flowers.

I depict serenity on my face. Our facial expressions reflect our inner state. But the opposite is also true.To improve the internal state, it is enough to change the expression on your face to a kind smile.

Photo: pixabay.com

I begin to take a deep breath through my nose. I can feel the air going into my lungs to the very bottom. I concentrate my attention on inhaling. I try to feel the air entering my airways, refreshing them with its coolness.

Then, when I breathe out slowly (through my mouth), I focus my attention on it, on the warmth of the exhaled air.It’s so sweet. I can feel my lungs contracting without tension. You can focus your attention on how air enters through the nose and exits through the mouth. Just get a feel for what you are more comfortable focusing on.

The exhalation should be two to three times longer than the inhalation. Otherwise, you may feel dizzy from hyperventilating your lungs. It should be done in this way 12-15 breaths.This will take 2-3 minutes.

Photo: pixabay.com

You will feel that clarity has come in your head and your body has relaxed (it is in this state that you need to make responsible decisions).

There have been solutions to questions to which you did not know the answer until this moment. I will try to explain how this technique works.

It’s no secret that the principle of the computer is borrowed from the human brain.Our consciousness is analogous to the RAM of a computer. What happens when several resource-intensive programs are launched on a computer at the same time? The RAM is filled with current information and the computer starts to freeze.

Approximately the same happens to our consciousness when we try to solve many problems at once (for most people this is a completely normal state in which they have to be every day).

The meditative breathing technique allows you to reboot our internal computer without losing data. And it is perceived as if you sat down for yesterday’s very confusing work with a fresh head. Many questions began to be clarified.

Another explanation of the positive effect of the meditative breathing technique is the following.In various spiritual schools of the East, there is an idea of ​​stopping the train of thought, creating a vacuum in consciousness. In the spiritual teachings of Alexander Sviyash “Reasonable way” this is called “stopping the word mixer”. All this is called with one succinct word: meditation.

Photo: Depositphotos

It is recommended to practice this condition as often as possible.I associate this with the fact that when we turn off the train of our thoughts, we abstract from it, the mechanisms of the subconscious are connected to the solution of our problems, which are wiser and make decisions that are more precisely consistent with our nature. This means that the decision will be for our good, no matter how absurd it may seem at first glance.

Whether it is true or not, it may not matter. Another thing is important. This works . It really helps me. It will help you too.




While swimming in the virtual pool, you breathe in the priceless blue air and dive under the water.Hold your breath for as long as possible. At this moment, imagine that the blue ball, inhaling, enters through your upper respiratory tract, enters the internal organs, returns to the throat, nasopharynx, eyes, clearing them of negative energies. From this day on, do this breathing exercises during each session of energy color therapy! Do not be embarrassed if in the first days the duration of holding your breath (breathing reserve) is only a few seconds. The time will come, and your breathing reserve will increase to 30 seconds or more.The more you develop your breathing reserve, the better your longevity prognosis!

When you finish swimming in the blue pool, you go up the steps to the blue pool. As you immerse yourself in blue waters, you energize the “third eye,” the pineal gland, which is the energy center for physical and spiritual insight. Bathe in the blue waters for 5 minutes, and during this time every cell of your body will be filled with the healing energy of the blue ray.

Not only my patients with initial cataracts, but also the amazing healing described in the book of the English healer Vicky Wall, are a confirmation of the enormous potential of the healing energy of the blue ray.One day, when she was working as a pharmacist in a pharmacy in a provincial English town, a visitor came to her – a worker in a wealthy family. Usually cheerful, she looked very upset that day. When Miss Wall asked her what caused her sadness, tears rolled from the young woman’s eyes. “I am very upset. I went to the doctor about my eyes. He told me that I have a cataract, I will soon go blind and I will be operated on. I’m terrified that something will be done to my eyes. I don’t think I can handle it. “The fear was enormous.

That night, during meditation and prayer, the healer surrounded the unfortunate woman with a divine healing stream. Vicky Wall writes that she saw the patient bathe in beautiful blue. The healer continued to mention her in her prayers, and each time she enveloped her in a blue glow. A month later, the woman came to Vicky smiling. She did not have her stick in her hands. “What do you think, Mrs. Wall? She said, worried. “Neither the doctor, nor I can explain this: suddenly I was able to see, I no longer need the operation!”

Exercise during palming 3-5 times a day.Do solarization 2-3 times during the day or a 3-5 minute candlestick exercise. You will feel that you are seeing! The blue ray eliminates mental disturbances that can be the root of any problem, and the blue ray energy rebuilds the structure of your subconscious, leading a person to enlightenment.

90,000 Five breathing practices for all occasions

Most of the time we breathe automatically, without thinking about the process.But breathing is the most important sign of life. It is with the first breath that our stay in this world begins. The quality of life, its fullness and richness, health and emotional state depend on the quality of breathing.

To learn and practice breathing techniques, sign up for the seven-session course “Kundalini Yoga for Women” in Moscow or participate in the online course of the same name .

How to breathe correctly?

Most people breathe shallowly with more than 15 breaths per minute. Such breathing creates stress, since most of the time the sympathetic nervous system is active, which uses a survival strategy (rapid heartbeat, decreased appetite, constriction of the pupils, adrenaline rush). It helps to actively act and react quickly, but at the same time the body spends a lot of energy, using internal reserves, which is harmful to health.

In order not to injure the body, it is necessary to relax. Less than 10 breaths per minute through the nose turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the ability to relax, calm down, and replenish energy reserves.

Four or less breathing cycles per minute create a state of meditation, when we can penetrate into the depths of the subconscious and even hear the messages of the soul.

Activity: Set the timer for one minute. Without specifically changing the habitual breathing.Count the number of breaths in and out (this is 1 cycle). What did you do?

To breathe more slowly, you must take a full breath in and out using the stomach. In my classes, I often observe the inability of the students to relax the stomach, inflate it, fill it with air.

The more air we receive when we inhale, the better our body is enriched not only with oxygen, but also with prana – vital energy.

The deeper the better

Once upon a time, women wore corsets to accentuate their figure and often fainted.They seemed to be very impressionable and vulnerable. In fact, the ladies pulled in their stomachs and tightened the corset so that they could only breathe very shallowly. This provoked not only anxiety, but also a lack of oxygen.

The main pranayama in yoga is the basis of the foundations, and it is called “full yoga breathing”. Below you will find a description of this practice.

Yogis have long learned with the help of breathing to control many processes in the body, making them more effective, and therefore, to save energy and direct it in the right direction.There are many pranayamas – breathing practices that help stimulate the internal systems of organs, change the emotional state and even heal.

General rules for breathing practices

Before you start doing the practices, remember the universal rules and principles:

  1. During pranayama, while sitting, keep the spine straight. You can lean against the wall or sit on a chair. Keep your hands in jyan mudra unless otherwise indicated.(Gyan mudra – connect the index and thumb).
  2. Try to be aware of and follow your attention every inhalation and exhalation. The first days will not be easy, it will be difficult to feel the movements behind the stream of thoughts. This is a workout. As soon as a thought comes to mind, bring your attention back to your body over and over again, concentrating on your breath and connecting your fingertips.
  3. Pranayama time 3-5-11 minutes. Depends on preparation.
  4. Any meditation music can be used.
  5. Invigorating practices and organ stimulation are best done in the morning. Calming – in the evening.
  6. Chest breathing – invigorates, diaphragmatic (stomach) – soothes.
  7. Through the left nostril we receive lunar, feminine, calming, cleansing energy. Through the right nostril we receive solar, masculine energy, stimulating activity and action.

Breathing Practice # 1: Complete Yoga Breathing


  • replenishes and enriches the body with vital energy,
  • stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps in the fight against depression.
  • reduces and prevents the accumulation of toxic substances in the lungs.
  • increases lung capacity, allowing you to breathe to full potential throughout the day.


Full breathing is breathing in three phases: expansion / contraction of the abdomen, expansion / contraction of the rib area, and expansion / contraction of the chest. Inhalation gradually expands the abdomen, then the ribs, then the chest. It is difficult, but correct. And very effective.It will not be easy and enjoyable right away. But practice will take its toll.

Comments: Direct all attention to awareness of breathing. If you are no longer a beginner and full yogic breathing is common, then concentrate on connecting your fingers, being aware of the movement of energy in your hands and body. Any meditation music can be used.

Breathing Practice # 2: Alternating Breathing


  • harmonizes the left and right hemispheres,
  • Grounds, Feels Connected to the Moment,
  • helps to be in the moment,
  • clears the Ida and Pingala energy channels,
  • creates a sense of harmony at all levels: body, mind, soul,
  • helps relieve headaches and other stressful symptoms,
  • if inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right, then the practice calms, removes negative emotions,
  • if inhale through the right and exhale through the left, it gives clarity and positive, invigorates and focuses.


Sit in a comfortable position with your left hand in jyan mudra on your knee. Raise your right hand to the level of your nose, fingers together and pointing up. Use your thumb to close the right nostril while inhaling through the left. Then close the left nostril with your little finger, exhale through the right. Continue breathing with alternating nostrils for five to eleven minutes.

The practice is easy to describe, but difficult to execute. Moreover, it is easy to do it mechanically, but in the third – fifth minute irritation emerges, you want to give up everything, stop.Sometimes I even want to scream. This is how the blocks and channels are cleaned.

If you feel an emotional imbalance, pause and drink a few glasses of water. This will help restore balance.

Breathing Practice No. 3: Sitali Pranayama


  • helps bring down the temperature during fever,
  • stabilizes blood pressure,
  • helps to cure digestive diseases,
  • cleans from toxins.


Sit in a comfortable position with your hands in jyan mudra on your knees. Roll your tongue into a tube, like the English letter “U”, stick the tip out. Inhale deeply through the rolled-up tongue, exhale through the nose.

Commentary: Yoga practitioners say this pranayama confers health, strength and power. First, you will feel a tingling sensation or bitterness from toxins on the tip of your tongue, then after a while, the tip of your tongue will feel like sweet. This is a sign that the cleaning processes have started.

Practice twenty-six breaths every day in the morning and in the evening.

Breathing Practice # 4: Four-by-Four Segmented Breathing


  • energizes both mind and body,
  • helps to realize clarity, centering, wakefulness,
  • affects the hormonal system, brings hormones back to normal.


Sit comfortably but with your back straight.Bring the palms of your hands together at chest level, as if in prayer, pressing your thumbs to the center of your chest. While practicing, do not relax your palms, press them tightly to each other.

Inhale strongly and then exhale through the nose in four equal counts. Breathe loudly, as if sniffing. In the fourth count, when you inhale, the lungs should be filled with air as much as possible, in the fourth count, when you exhale, you are completely empty. As you exhale, draw in the navel, the generation of energy depends on it.When you finish the cycle, hold your breath for ten to twenty seconds, while firmly holding your palms together. Exhale, relax. You will feel energized and revitalized.

One breath will take 7-8 seconds. Do this pranayama for three to five minutes. Take a break if you feel dizzy.

Breathing Practice # 5: Lion Breathing


  • detoxifies,
  • stimulates the thyroid gland,
  • balances the throat chakra.


Stick out your tongue, pull it towards your chin. Breathe powerfully, forcing the breath from the root of the tongue so that it is silent. Breathe in with your upper chest and throat.

This breathing technique helps to cope with diseases of the nasopharynx when the throat hurts. Even children can do it. Try it together, it’s funny, fun and very effective.

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90,000 6 breathing techniques for good sleep

Alas, people are prevented from sleeping not only by bright screens in the room, but also by daytime alarms in their heads. Everyone is accustomed to being aware of events, few people know how to relax. What can help? Inhales and exhales that you don’t even notice!

The art of to regulate breathing is almost forgotten in today’s hectic society, and this is one of the best (and free!) Ways to tune in to sleep.Want insomnia to leave you alone? Take a moment to do some breathing exercises!

1. Deceleration

We know, we know, we tried! .. However, do not rush to conclusions. In fact, many do not even realize how pleasant it is: to feel the work of the diaphragm, abdominal press and lungs while inhaling, hold your breath for a short time, and then gradually exhale … If you focus on slow, deep breathing – the pulse and pressure will begin to decrease and it will help calm the brain.

So, lie on your back and try to breathe smoothly for 10 minutes until you feel sleepy.

2. Technique 4 –7–8

This breathing exercise can work wonders before bed (as it does in other situations where you feel stressed). Would you like to get the worrying thoughts out of ‘s head? Sit in bed with your back straight and press the tip of your tongue to the palate. While maintaining this position, close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath for a count of 7.Then exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 counts. Repeat the entire cycle 4 times.

3. Traditional meditative breathing

Have you noticed that a restless mind is the main destroyer of your sleep? Then it might be time to try meditation. As you tune in to the rhythm of your breathing, feel the air moving inside – this will help you begin the process of relaxing tense muscles. Let the disturbing thoughts come and go, ignore and continue to monitor your breath .Eight to 10 minutes of these exercises can help you fall asleep faster in the evenings.

By the way, according to the observations of yogis, breathing through the mouth tells the subconscious mind that the body is tense, while breathing through the nose sends signals of relaxation and homeostasis .

4. Yoga Legacy

The exercise called kapalabhati will require you to concentrate fully on your breathing. Translated from Sanskrit, kapala means “skull” and bhati means “radiance”, which hints at the effect of “lightening the head” .This practice can also help cleanse the lungs of carbon dioxide and fill them with fresh oxygen, improve blood circulation in the abdomen, and tone the body. Try it!

Sit comfortably with your back straight, for example, in a Turkish style or on your heels.