Breath is essential to life, yet most of us go about our day without ever noticing our breath or how it supports our functioning in the world.
Research demonstrates that a regular practice of mindful breathing promotes physical and mental health in a variety of ways:
- Increased energy levels
- Stabilization of blood pressure
- Increased immunity
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved focus and attention
- Improved decision making
- Decreased stress and overwhelm
- Decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Emotion regulation
- Enhanced communication skills
- Cultivation of overall wellbeing, empathy, and compassion
Over the next week I invite you to try these simple breathing exercises:
Intention Setting Breath:
Sit comfortably. Inhale deeply and fully as you imagine that you are taking in something that you need. Pause. Exhale slowly as you imagine letting go of something that no longer serves you. Example: Breathing in compassion. Breathing out judgment. OR Breathing in strength. Breathing out fear. Repeat 5-10 rounds.
Inhale on the count of 4. Exhale on the count of 6. Complete 3-5 rounds.
Inhale on the count of 5. Exhale on the count of 7. Complete 3-5 rounds.
Inhale on the count of 6. Exhale on the count of 8. Complete 3-5 rounds.
Sit comfortably, relaxing your left palm in your lap. Bring your right hand in front of your face and rest your index finger and your middle finger at the space between your eyebrows. Using your right thumb, close your right nostril and slowly inhale through your left nostril. Using your ring finger, close your left nostril, open your right nostril and exhale. Inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril, open the left nostril and exhale. Inhale through the left nostril. Repeat 5-10 rounds.
I hope you will find these exercises useful throughout your week.
Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
If you are so moved, I encourage you to try a yoga or meditation class in your local community to support further development of a regular mindfulness practice.