“If I had to limit advice on healthy living to one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.”
– Andrew Weil, MD
I like to think of the breath as the all-purpose tool to help promote physical, mental and emotional health. It can decrease tension, increase energy, improve concentration and mindfulness. The breath, it is said, is the pulse of the mind. When you are tense, your breathing becomes shallow, or you may even hold the breath, increasing tension. Focusing on your breath, however, releases stress and anxiety. With each deep, slow, full inhalation, you bring in energy and vitality; on the exhale, you expel tension, negativity and toxins.
Remember: Inhalation = Inspiration / Exhalation = Relaxation. Practice pranayama (controlled breathing) to connect with that place of inner calm. You’ll feel centered and balanced – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
As you breathe, so you live; may your breath be full and deep.
Humming Bee Breath
The vibration caused by this exhilarating breath, similar to the one created when chanting Om, helps you release tension by calming the body and mind. Focusing on sound and vibration also helps ground you in the present moment, filling you with peace and contentment. As you do this breathing exercise, imagine you are sitting outside on a sunny day, listening to the soothing hum of honeybees working in a flower-filled garden.
- Sit comfortably with a tall, extended spine.
- Close your eyes or have a soft gaze.
- Inhale deeply for a count of 7.
- With lips parted slightly, hum as you exhale for
a count of 14.
- As the momentum builds, try to get your lips to
vibrate as you exhale.
- Repeat 2 more times.
- Has a calming influence on the mind
- Grounds you in the present moment
- Releases tension
It has been said that the breath is the pulse of the mind. When we are tense, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow; this, in turn, heightens our tension level. Practicing Complete Breath will calm your emotions, relieve tension, relax your muscles, and help you concentrate. Complete Breath also purifies the respiratory system as you expel stale air from your lungs and oxygenate your blood cells. As an added benefit, deep breathing helps your complexion by increasing circulation and bringing more blood to the face. It’s simple . . . just breathe (deeply). Relish the feeling of health and serenity that Complete Breath brings.
- This breath can be done in a comfortable seated position or in lying on your back in Savasana.
- Relax; close your eyes.
- Exhale completely. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Allow your stomach to expand like a balloon. Sip in the breath, filling the chest and lungs.
- Hold the breath; exhale slowly through the nose, squeezing out all the stale air.
- If you wish, add the element of counting: inhale for a count of 5, hold the breath for 2, exhale for 7.
(Note: Adjust the count to whatever feels right to you but try to make the exhalation longer than the inhalation.)
- Repeat 5 times.
- Relaxes the body and nervous system
- Purifies the respiratory system by expelling stale air
- Relieves tension and calms the emotions
- Improves concentration
- Great for the complexion