Top 100 Breathing Techniques

Sama Vritti

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Close your eyes, inhale for a count of four through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed
  • Exhale for a count of four
  • Continue this breathing exercise for 10 minutes

Effect:

  • Calms the nervous system
  • Increase focus
  • Reduce stress


Pursed Lip Breathing

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Relax your shoulders and take a normal breath for 2 counts
  • Pucker your lips as if you are whistling and exhale for 4 counts
  • Repeat for 10 cycles

Effect:

  • Improve ventilation
  • Decrease work of each breath
  • Relieve shortness of breath



4-7-8

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Exhale completely through your mouth
  • Inhale through your nose for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8
  • Repeat the last three steps for 4 more cycles

Effect:

  • Regulate breathing
  • Help relax


One Minute Breath

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on a meditation cushion or with comfortable padding under your seat
  • Breathe slowly for 3 minutes to relax and deepen your breath
  • Inhale slowly and steadily with a deep breath that fills your lungs gradually over 20 seconds
  • Hold the breath for 20 seconds
  • Exhale slowly and steadily for 20 seconds
  • Repeat the last three steps for 3 more cycles

Effect:

  • Coordinates the two hemispheres of the brain
  • Calming effect
  • Reduce anxiety or fear


Breath of Fire

How it’s done:

  • Sit up tall with a straight spine and relax your stomach
  • Breath in and out very quickly through your nose (imagine like the pace of a dog panting where the pace should be 2-3 cycles of breathing in and out every second) pumping your belly in and out with each inhale and exhale
  • Repeat for approximately 1 to 2 minutes

*If you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded, you can slow down the pace

Effect:

  • Release tension
  • Strengthen nervous system
  • Release toxins and deposits in the lungs, mucous lining and blood vessels
  • Improve circulation



Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique

How it’s done:

  • Lie on your back on a flat surface and have your head supported and your knees bent
  • Place one hand on the upper chest and the other on your belly
  • Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose and feel the weight of your hand against your breath
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale through pursed lips (lips leaving a slight opening)
  • Continue this exercise for 5 – 10 minutes

Effect:

  • Strengthen the diaphragm
  • Improve breathing by requiring less effort for each breath


Progressive Relaxation

How it’s done:

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position
  • Take a deep breath through your nose and breathe out slowly, pay attention to the difference in your body between the “squeeze” phase and “relax” phase of the next set of exercises
  • Stretch out legs and point your toes and squeeze all the muscles in your toes for five seconds, and then relax
  • Squeeze all the muscles in your calves for five seconds, and relax
  • Squeeze all the muscles at the top of your legs for five seconds, and relax
  • Squeeze all the muscles in your hands for five seconds, and relax
  • Stretch and reach out in front of you with your arms as far as you can for five seconds, and relax
  • Stretch and reach above you with your arms as far as you can for five seconds, and relax
  • Pull your shoulders so that they are close to your ears and hold for five seconds, then relax
  • Contract and suck in your stomach for five seconds (imagine a huge weight on your stomach), then relax
  • Wrinkle up your face muscles as much as you can, your nose, mouth, eyes, forehead, cheeks, ears and lips. Do this for about ten seconds, and then relax
  • Relax your whole body and feel your whole body go limp. Shift your attention to the slow pace of your breathing

Effect:

  • Relax your body
  • Increase awareness of the difference between the “tense” state and “relaxed” state of your body


Nadi Shodhana

How it’s done:

  • Sit on a meditation cushion or a tall and comfortable seat
  • Relax your non-dominant hand and bring your dominant hand to the front of your face
  • Rest your pointer and middle finger between your eyebrows
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose
  • Use your thumb to close off one nostril (right nostril if right handed and left nostril if left handed)
  • Inhale slowly through the one nostril
  • Close the other nostril with your ring finger so that both nostrils are now closed. Hold your breath for a couple seconds
  • Release your thumb so that you can breathe out slowly through the other nostril. Breathe out a little more than you would normally
  • Inhale through that nostril and hold your breath for a couple seconds
  • Release your ring finger so that you can breathe out slowly through the first nostril. Breathe out a little more than you would normally
  • Repeat this cycle for another 5 to 10 times

Effect:  

  • Improve focus
  • Reduce stress
  • Balances your left and right hemispheres of the brain


Guided Meditation

How it’s done:

  • Load up this video on your computer and/or phone:
  • https://goo.gl/wlyxdR
  • Sit or lie down comfortably and relaxed, and reserve 30 minutes for each of these sessions (remember to turn off or mute your phone)
  • Play the video and let it guide you through the meditation
  • You can find other guided meditation scripts on YouTube or on the web to use for future sessions

Effect:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Improve creativity, motivation and sleep
  • Eliminate self destructive behaviours
  • Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and improve immune system



Kapalabhati

How it’s done:

  • Sit comfortably in an upright position either on a chair or a meditation cushion
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Inhale slowly but deeply through your nose until your lungs feel around ¾ full
  • Exhale quickly and powerfully while pushing slightly back with your lower belly
  • Perform this cycle (the last two steps) for a total of 10 breaths and allow your breathing to return to normal
  • Repeat this cycle of 10 breaths for 3 to 4 times

Effect:

  • Become more alert
  • Warm up the body
  • Energize the body and mind

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