“Never” is a big word.
But then again, so is “oxygen.”
And when it comes to oxygen, we all need it.
It is awfully hard to take in too much – more frequently today we have exactly the opposite problem.
This is true whether you look at it from the standpoint of air pollution or from the perspective of our ancient reptilian brain, which somehow has decided holding our breath is a great thing to do when we get stressed out.
This is why I say that these four breathing techniques never fail.
They all reliably deliver more oxygen than you were likely getting before.
Plus – a bonus just in case you needed one – they give your mind something constructive and repetitive to do, which (at least if your mind is anything like my mind) distracts it from whatever destructive, repetitive thing it was doing before that.
And even though breathing feels relevant every day for obvious reasons, strategic breathing feels particularly relevant right now.
As we continue moving into and out of crisis mode on so many levels in nearly every part of the world, breathing is the one constructive thing that helps us all. It helps us help ourselves and that in turn helps us to help others.
Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing.
I can’t say enough good things about 4-7-8 breathing.
My mom’s yoga teacher taught it to her years ago and she promptly turned around and taught it to me. Thank goodness.
I would explain how to do it. But I have a much better option for you: just watch this short video from Dr. Weil himself that shows you exactly how to do this technique.
Box breathing is a breathing technique I learned from my life & business coach, Christine Kane.
When Christine was teaching it to us, she explained that it is a time-honored breathing strategy used by Navy SEALS.
Hearing this made me very happy.
Reason being, I can’t do a single push-up. (I mean, I can do the going down part if “belly flops” count. I just can’t hoist myself back up again….yet.) But now at least I can breathe like a Navy SEAL and that’s a good start!
I just googled it to find a video for you to watch and learned it is sometimes also called square breathing.
I also discovered something even better than a video – there’s a whole free app you can download that teaches you exactly how to do box breathing.
You can get the app for Apple or Google Play, too.
I have known how to do ujjayi breathing for years. But I just now learned how to spell it.
I also found you a great video from my favorite yoga teacher, Adriene Mischler of Yoga with Adriene.
Adriene has been teaching me yoga on a nearly daily basis – along with about six million other aspiring yogis around the world – for almost three years now. She is someone I trust implicitly to share yoga in a relevant, modern way that truly is accessible to everyone.
If you like this video, you should try her yoga classes for more great breathing and movement ideas – I suggest starting with her 30-day series “True,” which is how I started back in 2018.
Alternate Nostril Breathing.
Adriene taught me how to do alternate nostril breathing and I often forget about this practice in favor of 4-7-8 or box breathing, which are my top two go-tos.
But I really love alternate nostril breathing – it feels very cleansing and calming.
Adriene has a great video you can watch to learn how to do alternate nostril breathing.
Did I miss any of your go-to breathing rituals? I’d love to hear about your favorites as well.
With great respect and love,