In the hustle and bustle of modern life, the pursuit of tranquility seems like an elusive dream. As stress and anxiety plague our daily routines, we often find ourselves yearning for a natural and effective method to restore inner balance. Little do we realize that the solution to our chaotic minds lies within us, deeply ingrained in the very essence of our being – the art of breathwork.
From the moment we take our first breath to the steady rhythm of inhalation and exhalation that sustains us throughout life, the power of breath goes far beyond its physiological role. Beyond its vital function in oxygenating our cells, deep breathing acts as a gateway to an innate calm that we have evolved with over millennia. By tapping into this primal mechanism, we can unlock the profound potential of our nervous system and find respite from the demands of the outside world.
Termed variously as diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing, or deep breathing, this ancient practice holds the key to unlocking the parasympathetic nervous system – the guardian of our “rest and digest” response. Amidst the chaos of modernity, it is this system that can restore serenity to our souls and tranquility to our minds.
Breathwork & Our Nervous System
Our vagus nerve and nervous system profoundly influence our body’s response to stress and overall well-being. The vagus nerve, part of the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest” system), acts as a communication link between our brain and organs.
When facing stress, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the “fight or flight” response, preparing us for action. However, to return to calmness, the vagus nerve signals safety and activates the parasympathetic response.
Breathwork, especially deep and slow breathing, directly impacts the vagus nerve. By controlling our breath intentionally, we stimulate the vagus nerve and promote relaxation, reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
Incorporating breath work into daily routines helps alleviate stress and enhances self-awareness, empowering us to navigate challenges with composure and promoting overall well-being.
1. Box Breathing (4-4-4-4)
- Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 4.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 4 sorry.
- Repeat the cycle for several minutes, gradually increasing the count if comfortable.
2) 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
- Sit in a comfortable position and place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth.
- Close your mouth and inhale silently through your nose to a mental count of 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale completely through your mouth to a count of 8, making a whooshing sound.
- This completes one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle for a total of 4 breaths.
3) Psychological Sigh (double inhale + long exhale)
- Take a double inhale through your nose. This means inhaling once, and then inhaling again without exhaling in between. Fill your lungs fully during this process.
- Exhale slowly and fully through your mouth, letting go of any tension, stress, or negative emotions.
- Repeat the double inhale through your nose and long exhale through your mouth for several rounds.
- As you practice, focus on deepening your breath, allowing the exhale to be longer than the inhale.
- This technique can help activate the body’s relaxation response and promote a sense of calm and well-being.
4) Wim Hof Method
- Take 30-40 quick, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
- After the last exhale, take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can.
- When you need to breathe, inhale deeply and hold for 15 seconds.
- Exhale and relax. Take a moment to observe any sensations.
- Repeat the cycle for 3-4 rounds.
TL;DR: Annihilate Stress With Breathwork
- Breath work taps into our innate calm and evolved potential to restore inner balance amidst modern chaos.
- The vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system play a vital role in regulating our body’s stress response and relaxation.
- Deep and intentional breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, promoting relaxation and reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
- Incorporating breathwork in daily routines enhances self-awareness and empowers us to navigate challenges with composure.
- Box Breathing (4-4-4-4): Inhale, hold, exhale, and hold for counts of 4, gradually increasing if comfortable.
- 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8, repeating for a total of 4 breaths.
- Psychological Sigh (double inhale + long exhale): Inhale twice through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth for relaxation.
- Wim Hof Method: Quick deep breaths, breath retention, and repeated cycles for relaxation and focus.