We’ve all had that day before. The one where even bottomless coffee won’t boost our energy or wake us up. Some simple breathing exercises might be what you need to get a natural burst of energy and start your day.

Breathwork or pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga and a fundamental part of any yoga practice. “Prana” means life energy and “yama” means control.

Pranayama, therefore, is a practice of controlling our breath in order to affect the flow of energy, stress, bliss and emotions in our body.

What are the eight limbs of yoga? Here is your comprehensive overview

Even in the non-yoga world, you may have heard things like “take 3 deep breaths” or “count to ten” to calm yourself down or respond to a situation.

Breath work comes in many forms. From rapid, pulsating breaths to long inhalations and exhalations, from breath holding to overbreathing. These have different purposes and can be used to provoke a specific response in our body.

Some forms of breathing work help us to calm down and relax after a long day. Others give us a boost of energy and awaken our bodies and minds.

Pranayama for Stress Relief: Use These 3 Yoga Breathing Exercises to Help Calm Down

3 breathing exercises for a natural burst of energy:

Try these three pranayama exercises when you need a natural boost of energy.

1. Shining breath of the skull (Kapalabhati)

This breath work has one of the most vivid and vivid names. In Sanskrit, Kapala means skull and Bhati means shine, which makes this skull the shining or illuminating breath of the skull.

Kapalabhati is different from many other breathing techniques in that it focuses on exhaling rather than inhaling.

In this exercise, you breathe out quickly and dynamically through your nose. So much so that it looks like you’re cleaning up your skull or shining! The powerful exhalation is followed by a passive inhalation, which is all driven by rhythmic abdominal thrusts.

Let us try it:

  • Find a comfortable, yet active seat on the floor or a chair
  • Do not do this breathing work while standing as it can make you feel dizzy
  • Gently lengthen your neck and pull your chin down very slightly
  • Close your mouth to seal your lips
  • Put your hands on your legs or take a mudra if you want
  • Start with slow and full inhalations and exhalations
  • Next inhale to about 2/3 capacity
  • Then begin to exhale forcefully through your nose by strongly pulling your navel towards your spine
  • This is an active pull or push inward of the front abdominal wall
  • Follow this by loosening your core muscles and passively breathing in air
  • Your stomach moves inward as you exhale and outward as you inhale
  • Sometimes it helps to put a hand on your stomach to feel how it moves in and out as you learn this breath work
  • The rhythm is fast, the exhalation is short and strong, and the inhalation is slower and more relaxed
  • Start with twenty repetitions of exhalations and inhalations
  • When you are done with a round, take another slow and full inhalation and exhalation
  • Repeat for up to three rounds of twenty repetitions, taking as many slow breaths as necessary between rounds
  • Beginners take about a second for each exhale and a second or two for an inhale
  • With a little practice, you can increase both your breathing speed and the number of repetitions per lap

Not sure what your anterior abdominal wall means? Read: Abdominal Anatomy + Yoga Poses for Strengthening Your Entire Core

2. Breath of Joy

This is an aptly named breathing exercise with no corresponding Sanskrit name. It’s hard to complete Breath of Joy without smiling and possibly even laughing.

This breathing work involves the entire body and ensures a quick, natural burst of energy. It is done on standing up and pairs arm movements, breath control, a forward fold and an audible “HE HAS” Sound.

You swing your arms a little like an exaggerated conductor as you divide your inhale into three parts, then enjoy a luxurious exhale.

Pranayama, therefore, is a practice of controlling our breath in order to affect the flow of energy, stress, bliss and emotions in our body.

This breath work awakens your whole body and helps to release tension.

Let us try it:

    Start in a standing position with knees soft, feet about shoulder width or slightly wider, and arms down by your sides

  • Check your surroundings to make sure that your arm movements are not hitting anyone or anything
  • Inhale 1/3 of the way as you extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level
  • Inhale 2/3 of the capacity as you swing your arms to the side
  • Inhale to full capacity the rest of the way as you swing your arms overhead, keeping your arms parallel, and palms facing each other
  • Your elbows can remain bent for these movements, while your arms are soft and not fluted
  • Then exhale deeply as you make the “HA” sound.
  • As you exhale, swing down at your hips and let your arms dangle toward the floor or past your legs
  • Then roll back to a standing position as you swing your arms back to shoulder height and repeat the first step of the three-part inhalation
  • Be sure to keep your knees bent both when standing and when bending forward
  • Repeat up to ten times
  • After you have finished breathing with pleasure, breathe a few regular breaths in the mountain pose (Tadasana pose) and enjoy the invigorating feeling

3.Breathing through the right nostril (Surya Bhedana)

This warming and energizing breathing exercise focuses on inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril. You will use Vishnu Mudra to close one nostril at a time.

In Sanskrit, Surya means sun and Bhedana means penetration, which is what makes this sun-penetrating breath. Use this breathing exercise whenever you need a little inner sun to warm your body or soul. Pure, natural energy boost!

Let us try it:

  • Start in a comfortable meditation seat like the Easy Seat, Lotus Pose, or Hero Pose
  • Take Vishnu Mudra with your right hand: pull your index and middle fingers towards the palm of your hand while keeping your thumb, little and ring fingers extended
  • Press your ring and pinky fingers in your left nostril to close it
  • Close your eyes
  • Inhale slowly and fully through the opened right nostril
  • Maintain inhalation as you close your right nostril with your thumb
  • Release your pinky and ring finger to open our left nostril
  • Breathe out slowly and fully through your open left nostril
  • It’s a cycle
  • Repeat the cycle as many times as desired, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left
  • You can supplement this exercise with breath holding as you wish by lengthening your inhalations, holding your breath, and lengthening your exhalation in a 1: 4: 2 ratio
  • Example: inhale four times, hold sixteen, exhale eight times
  • After completing the desired cycles, release your mudra and inhale and exhale evenly through both nostrils a few times

Would you like to work with other mudras? Read: General Mudras, What They Mean, and How to Practice them

Try guided breath work with us in YA courses from YogiApproved!

Accompany the Berlin YA Classes teacher Katy Scherer, who will guide you through a simple breathing exercise that you can visit again at any time!

With Katy Scherer

9 minute course | All levels

Get a natural burst of energy with breathing exercises

There are numerous benefits of breathing work that go beyond a natural burst of energy.

Routine breathing exercise can help expand lung capacity, balance your nervous system, increase endurance, improve focus, cleanse the lungs, aid digestion, and strengthen the diaphragm and abdomen.

Use caution if you have high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, or dizziness. If you find that any of these breathing exercises are causing you dizziness, you may benefit from slowing down your rhythm, increasing the number of cycles, or taking a longer break between rounds.

One of the great things about the breath work is that it can be done almost anywhere. From your desk at work to the waiting area at the airport, this practice can happen at any time.

The next time you struggle to wake up or fall asleep at your desk in the afternoon, try one of these three breathing exercises to give yourself a natural boost of energy. Maybe you have bright eyes and a bushy tail after all.

0 —— 0 ————– January 6, 2022


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