There are many practices out there to help ground yourself and balance you when you may be feeling overwhelmed or a little out of sync, but one of these daily rituals that we like to think of as a fundamental basic to a Whelthy day is a good, solid, breathing routine.
'Conscious breathing is my anchor." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Now, this might sound a little crazy; everybody breathes!
Yes, you would be right, but are you breathing correctly and consciously?
Here at Whelthy, our team believe that good habits cultivate great results and the same way that we advise each one of you to eat only the best foods to help power your body, breathing correctly and consciously can, believe it or not, enhance your day to day functioning.
Breathing is used in meditation as a way of relaxing the body entirely to achieve a clear state of mind. We are fortunate that such a powerful tool, like breathing, is something that we can regulate and control ourselves, sat at home, while in the car, driving to work, while sitting on the sofa at home at our desk in the office.
Remember, we always talk about how its important to get 8-9 hours of good sleep under your belt for a productive day, but we don’t have control over our breathing while we are asleep and so need to fine tune this first thing in the morning, ideally before we take on any daily tasks.
Almost everywhere you look, you will find stress—at work, at home, on the road. It's hard to avoid it and even harder to not get consumed by it all, but one thing we have full control over that will help to calm our thoughts and silence the chitter chatter that we face day-to-day is an excellent breathing routine.
Practicing breathing techniques will not only give you beneficial life tools, but they are also a great starting point for your meditation journey. The three breathing techniques that we have shared below are very simple, effective and easy to learn. We urge all of our Whelthy warriors to introduce at least one of these into their daily routine. Some will bring calm and inner peace, while others can help to kick-start your mental awareness and fill you full of energy.
- Abdominal Breathing
This style of breathing can help to slow your entire body down; your heart rate and can even lower your blood pressure with each controlled deep breath you take.
We would recommend this technique for anybody experiencing racing thoughts, those who have a busy lifestyle, and perfect for those days where everything seems like its 100 miles per hour. Your aim during this technique, is to focus on your diaphragm instead of your chest, as you breathe.
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath in through your nose, enough for your diaphragm to inflate with enough air to produce a stretch in your lungs and then exhale slowly. Try to make sure each breath is deep and steady. Repeat this technique with seven to ten breaths per minute for around ten minutes. This is the PERFECT way to help to reset your body first thing in the morning or last thing at night
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
This technique will stimulate both sides of your brain while bringing calm and balance to any racing thoughts or anxious feelings. To begin, sit in a comfortable pose; this can be on the floor, on a chair or a sofa, wherever is most comfortable for you.
First, you hold your right nostril down with your thumb or one of your fingers on your right hand. Breathe in deeply through your left nostril. When you're at the peak of inhalation, let go of your right nostril and cover the left. Then, exhale through the right nostril. Continue with this technique for as long as needed until you feel calm and focused.
Because this particular method connects your brain on a deep level, we wouldn't recommend you practice this technique before going to bed. Instead, if you need to prepare for a big presentation or a stressful job interview, or you're in any nervous situation, take a few minutes practicing alternate nostril breathing to calm yourself.
Doing this will help quiet your mind so that you can be the best version of yourself without having to worry about the nerves! Not only will you experience calm and balance, but you will feel focused and super energized.
- Relaxing Breath
This technique can be used to relax the body and nervous system entirely. It can be used in many different scenarios—when you feel internal tension when something upsetting happens, or to help you relax you before sleep.
Before you begin, ensure you are sitting comfortably with your back as straight as possible. Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth where they meet the gum. You will need to keep your tongue here for the duration of the technique.
Start by exhaling fully. Usually, because of where your tongue is, this would make a natural "whoosh" sound. Inhale quietly for a count of four. Once reached, hold your breath here for a count of seven and then exhale fully for a count of eight, this sequence is one full breath. You should aim to do four or five full breaths each time you practice this technique.
We believe that by practicing one of these simple breathing exercises for ten to fifteen minutes a day, you will be able to reduce your stress and anxiety levels significantly and notice a big difference in your energy levels, concentration levels and better mental clarity. You'll start to experience the calmness of your mind, the chaos of day-to-day worries will start to fall away, and you will begin to feel feelings of happiness and contentment.
Happy Conscious Breathing Whelthy Warriors