Published By: Nirtika Pandita

Breathing exercises for a calmer mind and sane body functioning

These simple tips for focusing on breathing are a great relaxer for the mind and body.

Breathing is the most important function in human beings that keeps them alive. If there is no food or water, the air passes through the lungs and back into the body and out, which will help a human survive for days. This simple functioning of breathing is important as it keeps the body regulated. And this simple breathing can help the body remain calm and provide body relief. Here are some breathing exercises that can help keep the mind and body calm.

Nadi Shodhana or Alternate-Nostril Breathing

This breath work entails closing one nostril while breathing through the other, alternating between nostrils in a sequential manner. To maintain your posture, it's best to practice this type of anxiety-relieving breathing while seated.
  • Bend the pointer and middle fingers into the palm while keeping the thumb, ring finger, and pinky extended.
  • Begin by inhaling and exhaling with your thumb, and close off the right nostril.
  • Breathe in through the left nostril keeping the ring finger loose and closing the left nostril. Now open the right nostril and exhale.
  • Breathe in through the right nostril, keeping the thumb loose and closing the right nostril.
  • Now open the left nostril and exhale. Breathe in through the left nostril. Repeat this pattern.

Belly or abdominal breathing

About 30 minutes of belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, every day can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Sit comfortably or lie down. Put one hand on the upper chest with the other on the belly, just below the ribcage.
  • Make the abdomen loosen up naturally without trying to squeeze or tug the muscles.
  • Inhale through the nose slowly. The air must travel in and out of the nose and outwards feeling the stomach rise and fall inward with the other hand towards the spine).
  • Slowly exhale through slightly puckered lips. Keep an eye on your hand on your chest, which should be relatively still.

Lengthen exhales

Taking deep breaths activates the sympathetic nervous system which also regulates the defense response. Exhaling, on the other hand, is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system which impacts our body's ability to relax and calm down.
  • Instead of taking a big, deep breath, exhale thoroughly. Expel all the air from the lungs then let the lungs do their job of taking the air in.
  • After this, attempt exhaling for a few seconds longer than you inhale.
A few other breathing exercises are Focus Breathing, Box Breathing, 4-7-8 Breathing, Lion’s Breath, Mindful Breathing, Pursed-Lip Breathing, Resonance Breathing, Simple Breathing Exercises, Shallow Breathing, and Equal breathing.