Four breathing techniques you can do anywhere


Life gets busy and before you know it you are rushing around and caught up in the busyness. This sucks up a tremendous amount of energy, both mentally and physically.

Stopping and fitting in a quick five minute breathing technique can help reboot, refresh and centre you, ready to take on the rest of the day.

Here are four breathing techniques that you can do anywhere, at any time.

 Woman sitting crossed legged meditating on couch


Easy breathing mediation

  1. Find a spot you can sit quietly for a while and set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes.
  2. Close your eyes and take three deep, slow breaths in and out through your nose.
  3. Settle into your seat; focus on relaxing your body.
  4. Gently tune into your breath, letting everything else slide away. Focus on it going in ….and going out. You don’t have to breathe in a special way, just let it happen naturally.
  5. If your thoughts wander don’t worry, this is normal. Just gently redirect your mind back to your breath.
  6. When the timer goes off, take a few moments to come back to the outside world. Perhaps give your fingers and toes a gentle wiggle. Slowly notice how your body feels after your meditation.
  7. Before you rush back to your day take a quick moment to thank yourself for making time for this practice.

Square (or box) breathing

A quick relaxation technique that helps return your breath to its natural rhythm. It is great at short circuiting shallow breathing habits (guilty!). You can do this standing or sitting.

  1. Close your eyes, drop your shoulders and check your jaw is not locked.
  2. Take a deep breath in…and then out through your nose.
  3. Now breathe in slowly (again through your nose), this time counting to four in your mind.
  4. Pause at the top of the breath, holding for another count of four.
  5. Then slowly breathe out for four – remember to take your time.
  6. Pause at the end of your exhale for a count of four.
  7. Repeat for four rounds.  As you get used to the practice you can extend the rounds as you feel comfortable.

Woman doing alternate nostril breathing technique

Nadi Shodhana breathing

Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, is a super simple and quick way to breathe calmness back into your body and mind. Even better it can be done at your desk, standing in the kitchen or in your favourite time out spot in the house.

  1. Simply sit (or stand) comfortably with a straight spine. With your left palm resting on your lap, bring your right hand up in front of your face. Place your pointer and middle finger to rest lightly between your eyebrows.
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, and then out, using your nose.
  3. Shut off your right nostril with your thumb and breathe in slowly.
  4. Close off your left nostril with your ring finger and pause for a moment without releasing your breath.
  5. Now release your right nostril and breathe out slowly. Pause briefly again when you reach the end of your exhale.
  6. Take a slow breath in through your right nostril before closing it back off with your thumb. Pause again with both nostrils closed.
  7. Release your left nostril and exhale slowly, pausing again at the end of the breath for a moment.
  8. Repeat for 5 -10 cycles (cycles = once on each side). You can build up the cycles as you get more comfortable with the practice.

Kapalabhati breathing

Kapalabhati is a pranayama (breathing) practice that brings energy into the body, is great for warming us up and helps to internally cleanse us. This is a great one for winter, helping us to develop our internal heat to keep us healthy.

Translating to ‘skull shining breath’ in English, Kapalabhati consists of short, sharp exhalations and longer, passive inhalations. It is easy to do and can be done anywhere.

  1. Sitting comfortably, place one hand on your lower belly.
  2. Quickly contract your stomach pushing up a burst of air from your lungs out your nose.
  3. Then quickly release your contracted belly allowing it to return to normal, making your lungs draw in air.
  4. Take is slowly to start.  One breath every second or two is a good way to pace yourself.
  5. Aim for 30 seconds to begin with and build up from there.

There is a great You Tube video by Natasha Noel that tells you more about Kapalabhati and shows you how to go about it.  Check it out if you want to know more!

(Note – if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, or have a headache this practice is not recommended. Natasha talks a bit more about this in her video if you would like more information.)

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