3 Breathing Techniques to Reduce Stress & Boost Happiness

Breathwork, or harnessing the power of our breath, is emerging as a critical element in changing the way we're feeling, and there's no time like the present to summon a bit of extra calm into our worlds. It's no secret that these easy, calming and effective techniques can be used to positively bring about change in our mental state and physiology.

I'm loving the stress-busting and happiness-elevating effects I've experienced from taking a few moments each day to focus on my breath. You too can supercharge your reality, amp up your life force and bring tranquility into your everyday with these simple, relaxing breathing exercises. 

Here's my three favorite breathing techniques for instant zen... 
If the mayhem of life has got you feeling all hot and bothered, take a page out of the book of ancient Himalayan sages and try the Sitali Pranayama, or Cooling Breath. This unusual technique gets you tongue-tied in the best possible way, as you "drink up" air that's been moistened on its way getting sucked in through your curled tongue. 

Highly practiced in Ayurvedic lifestyles, the Cooling Breath not only refreshes and hydrates your body, but it curbs hunger pangs and thirst. It'll bring you a feeling of peace with being in your own company, as well as reducing bad breath, high blood pressure and fevers.

Here's how to chill out with some Cooling Breath:

  • Sitting comfortably, close your eyes and breathe deeply from your belly for a few minutes to get your lungs limbered up.
  • Make an "O" shape with your lips and poke your curled tongue out as far as you can, forming a "straw" to sip the air through.
  • Inhale deeply through the hole in your curled tongue, focusing on the cooling sensation as the fresh, moist air fills your lungs and spreads coolness throughout your entire body. 

Can't curl your tongue? No sweat!

  • Try replicating the effect by gritting your teeth gently together, opening your lips so your teeth are exposed to the air and sucking your breath in through the gaps in you teeth instead.

Check out the Cooling Breath (or Taco Breath?!) in action: 

Awaken your Kundalini with the Breath of Fire! Don't worry, no fire extinguisher required for this one... This rhythmic breathing technique sweeps out sluggish feelings that are weighing you down by opening up energy channels coiled in the base of your spine.

Practiced in Kundalini yoga, the Breath of Fire regains balance between your frazzled nervous systems, harmonizing the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and regulating all your body's rhythms. 

To rid your body of negative energy, summon serenity and energize your motivation, try breathing like a dragon and feel a fire ignite in your soul.

Here's how to fan your flames with the Breath of Fire:

  • Keeping your mouth closed, breathe rapidly in and out through your nostrils.
  • On the exhale, flex your belly and pump your navel inwards, consciously pulling it back towards your spine. 
  • As you inhale, push your belly out like a buddha, which allows you to take in deep, full breaths and fill your lungs completely with energizing oxygen.
  • Start out slowly as you perfect this nose-breathing-stomach-pumping technique, and once you've got the muscle memory established, you'll be able to pick up the pace and really stoke your fire inside.

Watch the Breath of Fire roaring into reality:
Taking the world by storm is the revolutionary Wim Hof Method. It is one of the few scientifically-backed breathing techniques that is proven to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Relieve chronic pain
  • Increase energy levels
  • Decrease Depression and Anxiety
  • Reverse Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diabetes
  • ...plus a plethora of other benefits

The Wim Hof Method is based on three pillars- The breathing technique, gradual cold exposure in the form of cold showers or ice baths, and a committed mindset. 

It's very important to note that you must not practice this breathing technique standing up, while you're driving, if you're in or around water, or while you are pregnant. When you breathe in, take the biggest breaths you can; then passively exhale, do not breathe fully out. 

Watch this video below to learn this incredibly simple and profoundly impactful breathing technique. 

I'll let Wim take it from here...

My bet is that you'll be feeling pretty blissed out and empowered after all this positive breathwork! 

Hit me up in the comments below, I'd love to hear your impressions of using the power of your breath to amplify your existence. Wishing a breath of blissful clarity to you all...

With love and light, 

Fefe

Author | Incense Falls

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