The breath is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal for altering negative thought patterns and staying centered in the present moment. Simply taking a moment during the day to close your eyes and breathe deeply makes such a difference in terms of your mood, mindset and even your productivity levels.
There are endless yogic breathing techniques you can try to engage your parasympathetic nervous system and feel more peaceful within minutes. Breathing truly is one of the most effective methods for calming the mind and uplifting your mood, and the best part is that you can seamlessly incorporate these exercises into your day without disrupting your schedule.
To get you started, here are five tips for using the breath to uplift your energy and stay focused:
1. Add a mala to the mix. Using your mala beads during your breathing or meditation practice can add a grounding, calming method as it gives you a tangible object to hold onto as you find your zen. All the Tiny Devotions malas make for lovely meditation tools, but the Amethyst Om Mala is especially useful for opening and clearing the mind during your practice.
2. Keep the spine long and erect. While you can choose to lie down during your breathing practice, this often leads to accidental nap time! Instead, try sitting cross legged, propped up on a block or a pillow, with your spine erect, shoulders down and the crown of th
e head leading up towards the sky. This will ensure the energy is flowing freely throughout your body and lead to a more effective practice.
3. Set the mood. While you may be at the office or in a public washroom during your breathing practice, do your best to find or create a space that feels peaceful to you. If you’re at home, light candles and keep elements of nature nearby like crystals, plants or water fixtures. This will help to amplify the healing powers of the breath and really set the tone for your meditation practice.
4. Inhale slowly through the nose for four counts, hold the breath for four counts and exhale for four counts, then try counting each inhale and exhale up to ten. As you focus on counting your inhales and exhales, you’ll find your mind beginning to slow down and the relaxation response kicking in. If you give the mind an occupation other than worrying, fretting or making endless to-do lists, you’ll find yourself feeling more zen in no time.
5. Meditate on the breath. Think about the coolness of the air coming in through your nostrils and the warm air coming out to stay centred during your breathing practice. Or, imagine the breath coming in through the bottom of your feet and leaving through the top of your head as you exhale. You could also imagine the breath as bright, white light travelling through your entire system, cleansing the organs and tissues in your body and bringing peace to your entire being. Get creative and think of a few visualization techniques that work for you to support your practice.
How do you use the breath to uplift your energy? Let us know in the comments below!
Born and raised in Toronto, Kenzie is a writer, blogger and yoga teacher. She loves all things beautiful, magical and free-spirited, and she’s passionate about seeking inspiration everywhere.