Start your day with breathing exercises for stress relief

Start your day with breathing exercises for stress relief

Posted: Jul 26, 2021 5:30 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2021 5:30 PM

A worldwide pandemic is more than enough to induce excess stress. Many people have had to deal with a changing work life and family life, leading to uncertainty. Having a moment of mindfulness with breathwork at the beginning of the day can help add consistency and structure to your routine.

A regular routine can help those who are feeling stressed from the pandemic decrease their anxiety levels, according to research. When it comes to a morning routine, all you need to get started is your body and breath. Mindfulness meditation can even improve concentration and decision-making, studies have shown.

As a yoga instructor, I have prepared these breathing exercises to relax your body and mind while giving you energy for your day.

Yoga and meditation involve breathing in and out through the nose. This fully engages the diaphragm -- the main breathing muscle -- and allows for a deeper and calmer breath. Cardio and strength training require you to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth to release carbon dioxide efficiently.

These five simple breathing exercises address different breath patterns. Each exercise will invigorate your mind and body to start the day. Perform one of these exercises for two to three minutes each morning.

1. Basic deep breathing

You have probably practiced this type of breathing if you have taken yoga classes, but I often find that many of my clients are unsure how to begin.

Find somewhere comfortable and quiet to sit where you won't be distracted.

Breathe deeply through your nose for five seconds, counting in your head. Then slowly breathe out through your nose for five seconds. Focus only on the movement of your breath.

As you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts, drawing air into your lungs. The diaphragm moves down as it tightens, pushing the abdominal contents downward and expanding the abdominal wall outward. When you breathe out, the diaphragm relaxes and air passes out of the lungs while the abdominal wall flattens.

This is also known as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. When practiced consistently, it helps you relax, lowers your heart rate, boosts your metabolism and can even help lower blood pressure.

2. Alternate nostril breathing

Alternate nostril breathing is another type of breathing you may have heard of in a yoga class. This type of breathing can be done during meditation or simply to relax.

Sitting comfortably, put your left hand on your left knee and your right hand toward your nose.

After exhaling, use your right thumb to cover your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril.

Then use your pointer finger to close the left nostril and release your thumb on your right nostril. Exhale through your right nostril.

Once you've fully exhaled, inhale through the right nostril while keeping your left nostril covered. Then close your right nostril with your right thumb, release the left nostril and breathe out through your left nostril.

Alternate nostril breathing helps relax your mind, reduce anxiety and restore balance. Practicing this breathing exercise in the morning will help control your daily stresses and improve your mindfulness.

3. Invigorating fist pump breath

This breath pattern focuses on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Breathing in through the nose helps your body filter out dust or allergens and increases your lungs' oxygen levels. Exhaling through the mouth allows more air to escape your body and relaxes your jaw and body.

Sit comfortably with your legs crossed. With your hands in fists, held up near your chest, pump your arms in the air as you exhale.

Then bring the arms down level with your chest as you inhale through the nose.

Adding in the movement of your arms makes this breathing exercise more energizing and elevates the heart rate.

4. Skull shining breathing

This type of breathing is specifically meant for energizing and balancing the mind and body. Because this type of breathing isn't the most natural, it also helps with mindfulness.

Breathe in deeply through your nose.

At the top of your exhale, begin breathing out sharply through the mouth with forceful blows.

Each exhale should be quick, releasing small bits of air from your lungs until there is no more. Blow out about 10 times per exhale, as if you're blowing out 10 tiny candles individually. Inhale again naturally, and repeat the process of short, sharp exhaling.

Skull shining breathing improves the function of the heart and lungs while also helping with digestion and related problems such as constipation and gas. The quick exhales work the abdominals and help tone your core.

5. Breath meditation

This may seem the simplest, but I often find my clients struggle with it the most. Focusing on only your breath is extremely difficult when there are so many thoughts in our heads.

This exercise requires a quiet space without distractions.

Sit in a comfortable position and allow yourself to breathe in and out as naturally as possible through your nose. Focus on the air moving in and out of your lungs.

As you breathe in, feel and think about the air moving into your body. As you breathe out, think about releasing stagnant air and energy.

Breath meditation has been known to lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and even ease fatigue. Incorporating breath meditation into your morning routine may help give your body the fresh start it needs to succeed.

In these uncertain times, practicing any of these brief breathing exercises in the morning encourages you to pay attention to one thing that is certain -- your breath.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Terre Haute
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 56°
Robinson
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 52°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 58°
Rockville
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 53°
Casey
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 57°
Brazil
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 56°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 56°
Sunny & pleasant day.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1582392

Reported Deaths: 26884
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook60726610902
DuPage1026891351
Will862101080
Lake761221053
Kane65145838
Winnebago38503541
Madison37519564
St. Clair34621558
McHenry32619311
Peoria25609359
Champaign25478182
Sangamon24108264
McLean21470203
Tazewell19477326
Rock Island17502342
Kankakee16409232
Kendall15177104
LaSalle14258273
Macon14134230
Vermilion12805180
Adams12525147
DeKalb11460126
Williamson11116152
Whiteside7759176
Boone753381
Jackson748379
Coles7121109
Ogle699985
Grundy690481
Clinton673597
Franklin658994
Knox6439163
Marion6392135
Macoupin629997
Henry604172
Jefferson5933130
Effingham580980
Livingston560294
Woodford548291
Stephenson534088
Randolph517096
Monroe501098
Morgan477995
Fulton475369
Christian474980
Logan471373
Montgomery459776
Lee452456
Bureau421687
Perry407770
Saline393562
Iroquois389170
Fayette385256
McDonough350855
Jersey318753
Douglas301236
Shelby296943
Crawford294030
Union292445
Lawrence291031
Wayne263956
White259229
Richland254052
Hancock250934
Pike249456
Cass245628
Bond241524
Clark241038
Ford232755
Clay230547
Edgar226844
Carroll223637
Warren218655
Johnson207821
Moultrie206730
Washington203827
Jo Daviess201624
Greene197738
Mason194551
Wabash193715
Massac192643
De Witt191230
Piatt188314
Mercer185434
Cumberland172423
Menard154112
Jasper148718
Marshall132721
Hamilton125720
Brown10127
Pulaski96711
Schuyler9568
Edwards94015
Stark75426
Gallatin7214
Scott6885
Alexander66011
Calhoun6342
Henderson62614
Hardin55413
Putnam5414
Pope4685
Unassigned1192432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461