Inhale: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

Bringing awareness to your breath through breathing exercises can relieve stress and improve focus.

Breath is the metronome of our being. Much like our heartbeat, that simple automatic action creates a rhythm to our life that is predictable, calming, and life-affirming.

Bringing awareness to the cadence and sensation of breathing is an integral part of a mindfulness or meditation practice, but performing breathing exercises is also an easy and accessible way to reduce stress and bring more ease to your day.

When we’re experiencing stress, one of our first inclinations is to take a deep breath – because it helps re-center our thoughts and relaxes physical tension. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm your body down and can reduce heart rate, rapid breathing, and high blood pressure, which are all symptoms of stress.

A deep breath relaxes the mind and body.
Taking a deep breath is an effective way of reducing stress.

Incorporating breathing exercises into your life means you have a quick, affordable, and discreet way to regulate your feelings no matter where you are or what you’re experiencing. Experiment with different types of breathing exercises to see what works best for you and your body.

To begin, find a comfortable place to practice. Location won’t be as important as you become more familiar with the techniques, but you’ll want to focus on the sensations and effect as you get started. Try to practice once or twice a day in order to establish intentional breathing as a habit.

Deep breathing

A lot of times, people breathe in a shallow and irregular fashion which can compound feelings of anxiousness. Focus on taking deep, steady breaths which fully inflates your lungs and pushes out your belly.

  • Find a supported position such as a bed, chair, or the floor.
  • Breathe in through your nose, filling your belly with air.
  • Breathe out through your nose.
  • Rest one hand on your belly, the other on your chest.
  • Feel your belly rise under your hand as you inhale, and lower as you exhale.
  • Repeat for 10 to 15 breaths.
Find a comfortable and supportive position.
Find a supported position for practicing breathing exercises.

4-7-8 breathing

This breathing exercise uses the deep breathing mentioned above as its foundation. Advance to it once you’re comfortable with deep breathing.

  • Lie or sit in a comfortable position.
  • Put one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest.
  • Inhale deeply from your belly, and silently count to four as you breathe in.
  • Hold your breath at the top of your inhalation, and silently count to seven.
  • Exhale completely, emptying your belly fully while silently counting to eight.
  • Repeat three to seven cycles, or until you feel calm.
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach to measure the depth of breathing.
Measure your breathing by placing your hands on your belly and chest.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Stress often comes with physical tension. Relieve stress both physically and mentally by releasing tension in each muscle group as you breathe deeply.

  • Lie comfortably on a supportive surface, such as the floor.
  • Take a few deep breaths to begin to relax.
  • Inhale fully while tensing the muscles of your feet.
  • Exhale and release the tension in your feet.
  • Inhale while tensing your calf muscles.
  • Exhale while releasing your calf muscles.
  • Continue to work your way up your body, including your legs, belly, chest, fingers, arms, shoulders, and face.
  • Conclude with three to five deep, cleansing breaths.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves breathing deeply as you methodically tense and release various muscle groups.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and releasing each muscle group.

Morning breathing

This tension-relieving exercise can be used throughout the day, but is a great way to start the day to relieve stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages.

  • Stand with your feet firmly on the floor
  • Fold forward at the waist with a slight bend in the knee, let arms dangle
  • As you inhale slowly and fully, gently roll back up to a standing position, vertebrae by vertebrae, head rising last
  • Hold your breath for a moment once you are standing
  • Slowly exhale and return to your bent starting position, releasing any tension in your upper body
Breathe deeply as you roll up into a standing position from a forward fold.
Start your day with a gentle stretch and some deep breathing.

Add aromatherapy to your breathing practice by diffusing essential oils as you do your exercises for additional therapeutic benefits. A personal essential oil diffuser is a convenient way to enjoy the benefits of deep breathing on-the-go.

Breathing seems like such an organic process that it seems silly to call it an exercise, but intentional breathing is different from the automatic response that occurs so naturally. Try incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine and evaluate how it changes your outlook and life.

Enjoy a better sense of health and wellness and breathe easier everywhere you go with KININ Wellness Pods.

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