Breathing Exercises

All breathing exercises should start with an inhale through the nostrils/nose.

Exhale can also be through the nose or conversely through the mouth.  Pursed lips is an option for an exhale, like blowing through a straw.

The Body Scan

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Breathe in: __________ (choose a word). Breathe out: __________ (choose a word).  Example: As you inhale, silently say to yourself the word LOVE. As you exhale, silently recite the phrase LET GO. You can choose the words and change them or keep repeating the same mantras. Try for 5 minutes.

Other examples include:

Peace, Relax;

Hope, Heal.

Believe, Grace.

Strength, Calm.

Forgive, Speak up.

One, Love.

Gratitude, Dream.

Be here, Now.

Life, Death.

Hold, Release.

Joy, Sorrow.

Light, Grow.  

Empowered, Humbled

One Hand Over Your Heart,
One Hand Over Your Belly

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Focus on feeling the rise and fall of your belly with each breath. Let your belly relax and expand during your inhale. Allow your breathing energy to deepen down to your belly, hips, pelvic floor, even toes. Fell your belly draw in as you exhale, squeezing and drawing in your abdominal muscles if you would like. Send and receive nurturing energy to your heart. Feel your chest widen as you inhale and soften as you exhale. Alternatively, you can just place your hand over your heart. Or both hands over your heart. Or both hands pressed together in prayer pose, held over your heart.

Counting Breaths

This simply involves counting your breaths, inhale and exhale, and sometime the pause in between.

For beginners, start small. Inhale on 1-2. Then exhale 1-2-3. Work up to try breathing in on 1-2. Then Hold 1-2. Exhale 1-2-3.

You can also just try. Inhale on 1-2-3, Exhale 1-2-3 but slower pace. Add in a pause of 1, 2, or 3 as tolerated.

The 4-7-8 Breath is more advanced. Inhale 1-2-3-4. Hold 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. Exhale 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Please only work up to this comfortably. Please stop the breathing exercise if you feel any dizziness or distress. This breathing combination is endorsed by Andrew Weil.

5-5: Inhale 1-2-3-4-5. Exhale 1-2-3-4-5. Do this for 5 minutes. Try adding in a pause if you like of 1-2-3, or 1-2-3-4-5.

Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi breath is a yoga tradition. It is a variation you can add to most breathing exercises or to your yoga practice, which is creating an “ocean sound” in your throat by compressing the glottis as the air passes through. This is similar to the effect made when you imagine defrosting glass with your breath and adding the “ha” sound as you exhale. As you practice Ujjayi breath, you will be able to create this effect while both inhaling and exhaling through your nose or mouth.
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