Breathing is something so natural, so fundamental, that we never even notice it unless we are reminded. Yet, proper breathing technique, such as you would study in a yoga class, is essential to our well-being! Noticing and controlling our breath reduces stress at its very roots, stabilizes our blood pressure, improves our mental clarity, and helps us stay calm and relaxed. You do not have to be a yoga expert to start practicing healthy breathing techniques right now – here are three simple yoga breathing exercises for beginners.
Equal Breathing Technique
The equal breathing technique, or sama vritti, helps train your body to breathe deeply, avoiding shallow breaths that increase anxiety. This is one of the easiest yoga breathing exercises for beginners who want to achieve relaxation. To perform the equal breathing technique, inhale while counting to four. Next, exhale while counting to four. You should inhale and exhale through your nose, repeating the exercise ten times. As you train your mind and body to perform the technique, you can increase the breath count to six or even eight counts.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
The alternate nostril breathing technique, or nadi shodhana, is a balancing technique that will help beginners learn to focus more deeply. This is a great one to try before a big deadline. Also called the silent breathing technique, nadi shodhana teaches you to keep your breath quiet, noticing the cold inhale and the warm exhale. To perform alternate nostril breathing, sit down comfortably and close your right nostril with your right thumb. Focus on inhaling through the left nostril, and when you reach the peak of the breath, close your left nostril using your fourth finger. Let the breath out through the right nostril, and continue the pattern until you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Abdominal breathing is commonly used not just in yoga, but in therapy, physical rehabilitation, childbirth, and many other forms of physical and mental wellness practice. This technique is healthy for anyone to do and may help lower your blood pressure, improve lung capacity, and strengthen your abdominal muscles. To perform abdominal breathing, place one hand on your chest and your other hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply through your nostrils into your diaphragm, allowing your tummy to rise and fall – not your chest. Practice at least ten slow breaths each day, pausing for a couple seconds after each exhalation.
Whether you are a beginning yoga student, or simply interested in trying some techniques for relaxation at home, these yoga breathing exercises for beginners are easy ways to begin training your mind and body to relax, rejuvenate, and even heal themselves. Some of the benefits you may discover after consistent practice could include increased lung capacity, less sickness, lowered blood pressure, and an increased ability to deal with the little stresses of life with more calmness and grace. Once you have mastered these techniques, you may even find yourself ready to take it to the next level with a more advanced yoga class!