Breathe your way to a better mood with these breathing techniques from Stuart Sandeman, Breath Coach and Founder of Breathpod. Whether you’re looking to boost energy levels, find focus, balance and alignment or quieten mind chatter and negative thoughts – there’s a breathing hack for that…
BREATHING TO BOOST ENERGY LEVELS – BELLOW BREATH
‘Bellow Breath’ hacks your brain activity engaging your sympathetic nervous system to STIMULATE an alert response. It helps to purify your blood and stimulates the solar plexus to generate heat and release natural energy throughout the body so you’ll feel fully charged and ready for action without the need of a coffee,
This exercise is powered from the naval point and the diaphragm is used to pump the navel in and out on each exhale and inhale respectively. So… Sitting up tall, straight spine, first practise panting like a dog with open mouth to get the rhythm and navel movement. Your chest will remain relaxed and slightly lifted. Now close the mouth and continue this rhythm through the nostrils. Both inhale and exhale should be equal duration.
Once you have nailed the movement:
1. Inhale though the nose, engaging the diaphragm, filling from the naval, while lifting your hands up in the air above your head.
2. Exhale through the nose engaging the core and pumping the navel in towards the spine, while bringing your elbows to your sides.
3. Repeat in and out of the nostrils, pumping navel, and lifting the arms up and down.
PLEASE NOTE: This technique is slightly more advanced than other techniques so proceed with caution. If you feel dizzy, giddy, light-headed take a break! If you are menstruating or pregnant, please miss this one out.
FOR FOCUS, BALANCE & ALIGNMENT – ALTERNATIVE NOSTRIL BREATHING
Alternative Nostril Breathing can restore balance, ease the mind & body and bring us energetically back into alignment when you are feeling off kilter. It’s a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state.
1. Sit comfortably, spine straight, rest left hand on lap and bring right hand to face make a peace sign. (We will be using thumb and ring finger)
2. Close eyes, take a deep breath in & out nose
3. Close right nostril with right thumb, inhale through left nostril slowly and steadily
4. Pause as you close left nostril with right ring finger and open right nostril
5. Release breath slowly through right nostril, pause briefly at end of exhale.
6. Inhale through right nostril slowly and steadily.
7. Pause as You close right nostril with right thumb and open left nostril
8. Release breath slowly through left nostril
9. Repeat section 3-8 above for 5-10 cycles
TOP TIP: Consistency helps so try match length of inhales, pauses and exhales (e.g. start count of 5 and increase as refine practise)
TO QUIETEN MIND CHATTER & NEGATIVE THOUGHTS & INDUCE HAPPINESS – BEE BREATH
The Bee Breath is a fun breath practise that is a great tool for tuning out distractions, mind chatter and negative thoughts. It can also induce gamma waves in the brain and feelings of calm and happiness.
1. Sit up straight with eyes closed, pop a gentle smile on
2. Place index fingers in your ears (or on the cartilage between your cheek and ear is also a good spot!)
3. Inhale deep and steady through the nose.
4. Exhale slow and controlled making a bumble-bee humming sound… Mmmmmm
5. Repeat 5 times
STRESS, PANIC OR OVERWHELM AT WORK – BOX BREATHING
A powerful anxiety, panic and stress busting breath is ‘box breathing’. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, so we move from flight or fight mode to rest & digest. It reduces heart rate, causes your body to RELAX and mind to CALM. It’s also a game changer to help get you to sleep. We want to balance both autonomic responses so that we are calm but alert.
1. Inhale through nose for a count of 4
2. Hold breath for count of 4
3. Exhale through the nose from a count of 4
4. Hold breath for a count of 4
5. Repeat 4 rounds
OR the ‘4-7-8 Breath’:
1. Place tongue on roof of your mouth
2. Inhale through nose for count of 4.
3. Hold breath count of 7.
4. Exhale through pursed lips for count of 8.
5. Repeat 4 rounds.
Stuart Sandeman is a Breath Coach and Founder of Breathpod
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Hettie is the editor and co-founder of DOSE. A keen runner, she’s also partial to a blast of high-intensity and hot yoga. A country girl at heart, she divides her time between London and the lush rolling hills of North Devon. When she’s not jetting off on her next adventure, Hettie can be found in a candle-lit alcove with a laptop, a spaniel and a full bodied Malbec.