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Meditation Breathwork Exercises

Breath Meditation – 5 Simple Breathwork Exercises

I was at a Personal Growth conference in Estonia this summer. Breath meditations , so-called  Breathwork Sessions, were also part of the program  . The experience is one of the most blatant experiences I experienced there. I had not believed possible what is possible with the help of breathing. It was immediately clear to me that I would deal with the subject more.

Our breathing  is  our body's most powerful controllable instrument . It is extremely interesting from two perspectives.

On the one hand, breathing is  essential for our body to survive  . If we stop eating, we can still survive for several weeks. If we don't drink anymore, then still a few days. But if we stop breathing, we suffocate within minutes.

On the other hand, our breathing is  both active and passive . We can breathe in and out consciously. But when we distract ourselves with something else, our body subconsciously takes over.

Breathing is a general term that describes any type of therapy that uses breathing exercises to improve  mental and  physical  . There are many forms of . Each has their own unique methods of using the breath. The  origin  almost always comes from Eastern practices like  yoga and tai chi.  In addition, western techniques of psychotherapy are being added more and more frequently. For positive change, breathing meditation can incorporate elements of talk therapy, breathing exercises, art, music, and bodywork. In practice, one finds breathing meditation as an  individual  , as an for  couples  or whole  groups. Not all exercises are risk-free, so they should be instructed by a certified professional.

Learning to control our breathing is one of the most powerful (and free) tricks to  improve  our focus  ,    , and manage stress  .

Deep and rhythmic breathing helps us  calm our minds , slow our heart rate and regulate our autonomic nervous system.

On a practical and physical level, proper breathing improves  lung capacity  and  strengthens the immune system .

When you are reflecting on your life and inner nature, breathing meditation can help you slow down and   gain more insight and self-knowledge .

Breathing meditation is used in therapy to address the following ailments.

5 breathing exercises

The following breathing exercises are simple and applicable to everyone. They are sorted by difficulty  . They can each  be used individually , but also  combined one after the other  . It goes without saying that breathing exercises, especially when you hold your breath,   carry some risk . As a safety precaution, do not attempt these   in water where there is a risk of drowning.

1:1 Breathing – Rapid burst breathing

Rapid burst breathing is a breathing that is a good choice as  an introductory   to a breathwork session.

As you inhale, raise your arms until they are fully extended. The hands are open. On the exhale, bring your hands back down to shoulder height with your hands clenched into fists. We repeat this 20-30 times at a fast pace.

Tony Robbins uses this burst of breathing to start his day. Followed by a small meditative unit, which he calls “priming”. The following video shows a part of the breathing exercise.

1:2 Breathing – Controlled breathing

The 1:2  breath control pattern  is super simple and has the effect of calming you down and slowing your heart rate. The breathing exercise uses a long, slow exhalation. The  parasympathetic , resting and digestive systems are set in motion. It counteracts the Stone Age fight and flight mode and calms you down after just a few cycles. It's a nice exercise to control the duration of the inhalation and exhalation.

The breathing exercise is simply exhaling twice as long as you inhale. Hence the name 1:2 breathing. For example: breathe in for 3 seconds, breathe out for 6 seconds.

Over time you will surely get better and you can bring the breath lengths to 4:8 or 5:10 and so on. To see significant improvements with 1:2 breathing, try it for 30 days, 10 minutes a day. It's a great breathing pattern to use in a stressful situation to regain control of your body and mind.

1:1:1:1 breathing – the box breathing

Box breathing is a breathing technique that you can use anywhere, anytime, as long as you don't have a highly complex task to perform. I like to practice walking on my way to the bus or while waiting in line. Along with training stronger respiratory muscles, it slows the breathing rate and deepens the ability to concentrate. Even if you practice box breathing for just 5 minutes, you will achieve a deeply calm body and an alert, focused state of mind.

To begin the exercise, exhale deeply to expel all air from your lungs. Start with empty lungs and take a controlled breath in through your nose for 4 seconds. With full lungs, breath is then held for 4 seconds. Next, exhale in a controlled manner for 4 seconds, then hold your breath again for 4 seconds. From here the exercise starts again from the beginning. 4 seconds on, hold 4 seconds, 4 seconds off, hold 4 seconds. This way you can count in your head during the exercise.

In, 2, 3, 4, Hold, 2, 3, 4, Off, 2, 3, 4, Hold, 2, 3, 4

Repeat the exercise for at least 5 minutes at a time. In addition, you can also do the exercise for short intermediate exercises throughout the day. Once you're comfortable with the 4-beat rhythm for 5 to 10 minutes, you can switch to a 5-5-5-5 rhythm.

4:7:8 Breathing – Calming

Now that we've seen some symmetrical breathing rhythms, here's a slightly crooked one. We start with empty lungs and breathe in for 4 seconds. With full lungs, we then hold our breath for 7 seconds. Then we hold our breath with empty lungs for another 8 seconds. This breathing technique forces us to slow down our breathing, which immediately relaxes us. Max Strom shows how to do it in the TEDx Talk linked below. He uses this technique to treat people who are plagued by everyday stress or who are plagued by .

1:2:2:1 Breathing – Breathing cycle exercise

1:2:2:1 breathing is an exercise that trains breath cycle length. Breathing time is determined by factors such as the strength of your breathing muscles, your lung capacity and the efficiency of oxygen transfer.

Try observing your breathing in a quiet moment. Count how many times you work in one minute. For example, if you count 15 breaths per minute, then you have a breath cycle of 60 divided by 15 equals 4 seconds. Up to 20 cycles per minute are common. However, significantly fewer are healthy. An average of 4-7 breathing cycles per minute is desirable.

The breathing exercise begins with a 3 second inhale. With full lungs, the breath is now held for 6 seconds. Then exhale for 6 seconds. Finally, with our lungs empty, we hold our breath for 3 seconds. This gives us a breathing cycle of 18 seconds. The goal should be to repeat the rhythm for at least 3-5 minutes without getting strenuous.

If you feel good about it, you can slowly lengthen the cycle. Make sure you keep to the on-stop-off-stop ratio of 1:2:2:1.

About Sari Schwartz

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