With all the stressors we encounter daily, who couldn’t use a bit of time to cool down, relax, and collect your thoughts? Conscious breathing may sound simple, but the results speak for themselves, giving you the peace of mind you need. All it takes is a bit of time and patience, and you can work conscious breathing into your routine. Learn more about breathwork, its benefits, and how to practice it right here.
Conscious breathing is all about slowing down and developing a state of calm. While it sounds like a simple concept, there are many different forms of conscious breathing. Some, like pranayama, incorporate breathwork into exercises or yoga to boost mental, emotional, and physical health simultaneously. Other types focus on the breath alone, offering a way to slow down and develop awareness.
If this sounds a bit like meditation, you’re not wrong. Many traditional forms of meditation incorporate conscious breathing. It makes sense since breathwork is the perfect way to turn your thoughts inward.
It all has to do with your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your brain that controls your flight, fight, or freeze response. By instilling a deep sense of calm into your body, you can banish feelings of stress or fear that may be troubling you.
If you’re already familiar with yoga and meditation, you might have a pretty good idea of the benefits conscious breathing offers. However, even breathwork experts may be surprised by all the positive effects it has. Take a look at this list to learn more.
Our physical and emotional health are intricately intertwined, which is the underlying idea that makes breathwork so effective. By taking a moment to let your body calm down, you can reduce cortisol levels and ease stress and anxiety. Mindful breathing also lets you be more aware of your moods, giving you increased control over your mental health.
Oxygen is one of the main ways we fuel our muscles and our brains. Whether you’re about to start an intense workout, a long study session, or just about anything else, starting with a bit of conscious breathing will be sure to give you a jolt of energy. You can also try adding these foods to your diet to help boost your energy levels.
If you have high blood pressure, starting a conscious breathing routine may be just the thing to get your health back on track. Research shows that just 10 minutes of breathing exercises each day can make a significant impact on your cardiovascular health.
Good sleep hygiene is all about finding a calming bedtime routine that you can practice consistently each day. A few minutes of breathwork at the end of the day can help you shrug off all your worries and prepare your mind for deep, restful sleep. Over time, this practice can signal to your body that it’s time for bed, letting you fall asleep even faster.
In addition to improving cardiovascular health, breathwork can also strengthen your lung muscles, letting you take deeper, fuller breaths. This can be especially beneficial to those with asthma or other breathing issues.
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While a home massager is one way to relieve muscle tension, it’s not the only way to limber up after a stressful week. A bit of conscious breathing can help your muscles relax, and reduce tension across your body. While it might not relieve more serious muscle conditions, it can help you feel less tense when practiced regularly.
The best way to learn about all of conscious breathing's benefits is to try it for yourself. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you can try these techniques today, right in the comfort of your own home. A five-minute session is the perfect place to start, and if you enjoy the process, you can incorporate more and more into your routine.
Follow these simple steps to begin conscious breathing today:
To practice conscious breathing effectively, it’s important to find a calm, quiet, out-of-the-way place. Ideally, you can have a room to yourself, free of noise or clutter. You can also listen to calming music or white noise to block out any other sounds that might distract you. Make sure the space is comfortable and familiar.
Yoga can also be a great way to practice conscious breathing through movements. Check out this guide to getting started with simple flows.
You can practice breathwork sitting down or standing up, depending on your preference. Choose your position and then place both hands on the area just under your belly button, to either side. Then, bring back your shoulders so your spine finds its natural S-curve. Avoid slouching or bending.
Practicing good posture throughout the day is a great way to relieve joint and muscle pain, while also practicing mindfulness. Take a look at these tips to improve your posture.
Once your body is aligned, begin breathing in, slowly. A slow inhale is ideal, but don’t breathe so slowly that you find yourself needing breath. Just allow your body to fall into a natural rhythm. As it does so, pay attention to the feeling of your breath as it enters your body.
When your lungs are full, exhale, allowing your breath to flow out just as slowly as it came in. Continue to repeat this process for 10 to 15 cycles, allowing your mind and muscles to relax as you follow your breath.
The truth is that breathwork can be used in a variety of different ways for all different people. How you incorporate it into your fitness routine is up to you. Try using it as a way to work up before a workout, or to cool down. You can also use it on its own before bed, in the morning, or after a stressful day at work. No matter how you use it to boost your physical, mental, and emotional health, it will be sure to have a positive impact.