We all breathe. It is one of the main things which connects all of humanity and all of life. Our breath is our lifeline and the way in which we measure good health, vitality and peace of mind. The great thing about practicing deep breathing is that it’s a fabulous way to relieve anxiety, stress and cease negative thoughts that plague so many of us in today’s world.
What does it mean to deep breathe? Seems like a simple enough question, right? Obviously deep breathing, as opposed to shallow breathing signifies taking in more air, filling the lungs completely and slowing things down for the count. There are ancient yogic techniques which outline specific deep breathing practices to assist the body in stress relief and mental clarity. One technique is call the Viloma breath, which literally translates as “reverse breath” because one does not normally control the breath, but in this technique one certainly does.
To begin, you start by drawing in a sip of air and pausing, a little more, pause, a little more…until you have reached a full breath. It is like sipping air through a straw, or climbing stairs one tiny breath at a time. At the end of the breath, pause and then let a smooth exhale follow – relieving the lungs of every bit of air. Repeat the process again – little sips of breath on the way in, full long stream of air on the way out. After several rounds in this way, it’s time to reverse the breathing.
Take a full, long inhale until the lungs are full of air. Now, start releasing air in little bits, stepping the breath back down and out. Exhale a bit, pause, exhale more, pause, continue, pause until the breath is all out. Repeat again with a full inhale, stepping down the exhale. After several rounds in this way, now it is time to Viloma breath in both directions. Step the breath all the way up and all the way down. This is more challenging and really builds the thoracic plexus which allows for more oxygen to come into the lungs.
Return to normal breathing and feel the depth at which you can now breathe as compared to the beginning. Viloma breathing is an excellent deep breathing technique to strengthen the lungs, relieve stress and anxiety, rid the mind of negative thoughts and ward off infection. It can also build the immune system and help relieve asthma and allergies.
The Simple Deep Breath
Another technique is simply counting your inhale and exhale breath, adding seconds on with each round. You can do this sitting down in a meditative pose, or standing with movement. It can be very enjoyable to find somewhere in nature and practice deep breathing while you move with the natural world, the sounds and the way you feel outside. Relieving anxiety, stress and negative thoughts will be a natural byproduct of deep breathing in nature or at home with a specific technique.
Here is a great video you can breathe with or simply be inspired by. Allow the quiet to draw you inward and connect with your own breath. When you do this you will find that clarity of mind, health and vitality naturally follow. It is impossible for one who practices deep breathing on a regular basis to experience stress, anxiety or negative thoughts – as they cannot coexist together. Go forward in joy and feel yourself come alive with breath! Notice the way in which this person pushes the breath out forcefully in some instances and imagine letting the negative thoughts go with the forceful exhale.
Written by: Stasia Bliss