Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity."
Try one (or all) of these five techniques and see how they affect your mood, energy, and overall sense of well-being.
1: Count Your Breath
Sit with a straight spine in a comfortable position. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then breathe naturally, and begin to count as you exhale. See if you can get to 10 and then begin a new cycle. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
2: Belly Breathing
Sit in a comfortable position and put one hand on your belly and one on your heart. Focus on your belly and as you breathe in, notice it rise. As you breathe out, notice it fall. Take 10 slow deep breaths just feeling your hand on your belly rising and falling. Repeat for up to 10 minutes.
3: Nadi Shodhana
Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril for 5-8 counts. Close your left nostril with your third finger and hold for 5-8 counts. Release your thumb from your right nostril and exhale for 5-8 counts. Inhale through your right nostril and repeat, gently and slowly, for 5 minutes.
4: “Cat Cow” Breath
Use the yoga posture “Cat Cow” to guide you as you are sitting or standing. On each exhale, round your spine so your chin moves toward your chest. While inhaling, gently stretch in the opposite direction, lifting your chin toward the sky, and slightly arching your back and pelvis. Repeat the movement and breath slowly for 5 minutes.
5: Breath of Fire
Start by taking a deep breath in and out. Then, inhale about halfway and start to pump your navel section in and out, while breathing rapidly through the nose with no pause between inhale and exhale. Keep your mouth closed. Start with 1 minute and work up to 5 minutes.
© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies