4 Beginner Breathing Exercises And What They Actually Do

Over-worked, under-slept and feeling the pressure of work on your shoulders like two bales of hay? Issues will start to compound and eventually you’ll spiral into a burnout if you’re not careful. When something is weighing heavy on your soul, simple affirmative actions like controlled breathing are the most effective to tackle the issue.

Try these four simple and effective breathing exercises recommended by Greatist during a break and let us know if you feel any better.

1. Sama Vritti

This is also known as ‘equal breathing’. This is the simplest of all the breathing exercises. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four – all through the nose.

You start at four seconds and as you become better versed in these practices you can ramp up to six and eight. This is especially effective at night, can be done anywhere and can be used to calm the nervous system.

2. Abdominal Breathing Technique 

Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through the nose inflating your chest.

The ideal is to do six to 10 slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions on your heart rate and blood pressure.

If you have a stressful presentation coming up, this technique is designed to settle the mind and body.

3. Progressive Relaxation

If you’re feeling physically tense after a strong gym session or a bad night’s sleep, Progressive Relaxation quells tension from head to toe. Close your eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each.

Start at the button and work your way to the top maintaining deep, slow breaths throughout.

4. Nadi Shodhana

Otherwise known as “Alternative Nostril Breathing”, this breath is said to bring calm and unite the right and left sides of the brain. Get comfy and place and hold your right thumb over your right nostril and then inhale deeply.

At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat this for an energy boost – not advised before bed.