In yoga, there is a branch that’s dedicated to breathing techniques only known as Pranayama. The term Pranayama means breath control. It is worth noting that breathing exercises play a crucial role in all forms of yoga practice and are useful tools in our day-to-day living. Since there’s a bunch of different breathing techniques available, this article will be looking at some of the best yoga breathing techniques that can help reduce stress levels.
Before performing any of these techniques, it is essential that you always try and take several eased breaths before and after each breathing exercise. If you are new to yoga breathing techniques, we advise you to start with 30-second exercises to allow your body to adjust to the changes. If you start feeling dizzy, take a break and relax for a couple of minutes to even out your breath.
Yoga Breathing Techniques
The Lion’s Breath technique encourages a sudden release and allows for a bit of playfulness. It is one of the most fun breathing techniques available, especially for kids. It’s also an excellent option for adults, especially during the start of a weekend when everyone’s ready to let go and unwind.
The technique involves inhaling deeply through the nose then leaning the head back and opening the mouth wide for a loud exhale while sticking the tongue out. Try it while raising your arms on the inhale and forming a cactus shape when exhaling to emphasize the relieving effects. A great way to experience this is to take part in a yoga retreat northern California area.
Breath of Fire
Mostly used in Bikram classes, Breath of Fire, as the name suggests, is a warming technique. It’s good for warming up abdominal muscles and igniting heat, or Tapas, in the organs. It is a superb technique for practices focused on detoxing and stress relief.
Practice this technique by sitting tall, then inhaling gently through the nose, before vigorously pumping your exhales out through the nose while pulling in your navel in repeated, short spurts. Pulling in your belly will exert another quick exhale. Just make sure that your exhales and inhales are even in time, depth, and force.
Three Part Breathing
Three Part Breathing is a smooth, slow technique that is super relaxing and is great for relieving stress, frustration, anxiety, and insomnia. This technique soothes muscles and calms the mind and is a great way to start a restorative practice or end an evening yoga practice or busy day.
To perform the Three Part Breathing Technique, place one hand on your navel and the other on your upper chest. Your inhale should start in your chest then to your upper abdomen, before puffing your belly out just like a balloon. Slowly release your breath in the same manner, smoothly exhaling the air from the belly, then the upper abdomen, and finally your chest.
Bellows Breath is a very invigorating breathing technique and is a great way to reset yourself after a stressful day or situation. To perform this exercise, raise both hands to the sky while making small fists or with your fingers splayed out. Take in air through your mouth and with each exhale, drop both elbows to the side of your body making an “HA” sound from your diaphragm. Do not be afraid of being loud. This technique is incredibly freeing as it releases any pent-up stagnation, frustration, or negative energies very quickly.