The Power of Breathwork: Breathing Techniques That Could Help Relieve Ailments

Tonglen Meditation To Work Through Trauma How to do it: Inhale suffering, exhale compassion to reduce stress and cultivate empathy. Tonglen Meditation is a profound breathing… Alli Anderson - October 20, 2023
Dralan Mountain Center

Tonglen Meditation To Work Through Trauma

How to do it: Inhale suffering, exhale compassion to reduce stress and cultivate empathy.

Tonglen Meditation is a profound breathing practice rooted in Tibetan Buddhism that focuses on transforming suffering and fostering empathy. Originating from ancient Tibetan traditions, this technique invites individuals to breathe in the pain, suffering, or discomfort of themselves or others during the inhalation and breathe out compassion, relief, and healing during the exhalation. It works by directly engaging with negative emotions, allowing individuals to confront and process them. This process has a profound impact on the mind, reducing stress by creating a safe space for the acknowledgment and acceptance of suffering. Additionally, Tonglen cultivates empathy and compassion by encouraging a deep understanding of shared human experiences. This practice primarily benefits the emotional and mental aspects of the body, aiding in emotional regulation, empathy development, and stress reduction. It provides a powerful tool for fostering resilience, connection, and emotional well-being.

Coherent Breathing For Physical & Emotional Balance

How to do it: Match your breath to a specific count to promote emotional and physical balance.

Coherent Breathing, a practice derived from ancient yogic traditions and adapted for modern applications, focuses on the alignment of breath with a specific count to promote emotional and physical balance. By matching the inhalation and exhalation to a predetermined rhythm, typically involving a specific count of breaths per minute, this technique helps regulate the autonomic nervous system. It engages the body’s natural relaxation response, effectively reducing stress and promoting emotional equilibrium. The intentional, synchronized breathing patterns encourage increased heart rate variability, contributing to improved cardiovascular health. Furthermore, Coherent Breathing supports mental clarity and a sense of calm, making it a valuable practice for those seeking to manage stress, enhance emotional well-being, and support physical health simultaneously.


Balloon Breathing To Promote Sleep

How to do it: Visualize your lungs as balloons, inflating and deflating, to enhance lung capacity. (You can also use a balloon to visualize your breathing technique and as a tool)

Balloon Breathing is a breathing technique that encourages improved lung capacity and efficient respiratory function. While its origins are less well-documented than some other techniques, it has been widely used as a visual aid to promote effective breathing. In this practice, one envisions the lungs as balloons. As you inhale deeply, you picture the “balloons” inflating, expanding the lungs to their full potential. When you exhale, you visualize the balloons deflating, allowing for a complete release of breath. This visual guidance helps individuals maximize their lung capacity, enhances oxygen intake, and promotes deep, diaphragmatic breathing. Balloon Breathing primarily benefits the respiratory system by strengthening the muscles used in breathing, improving lung efficiency, and increasing oxygen saturation. This practice is a valuable tool for enhancing overall respiratory health, especially for individuals looking to optimize their breathing patterns and lung function.


Crocodile Breathing To Help With Back Pain

How to do it: Lie on your stomach and focus on abdominal expansion while breathing to alleviate back pain and tension.

Crocodile Breathing is a specialized breathing technique designed to alleviate back pain and reduce tension, originating from yogic practices. In this method, one lies on their stomach, and the emphasis is placed on abdominal expansion during each breath. By maintaining this position and focusing on deep abdominal breaths, the lower back area is gently stretched and relaxed. The technique encourages the release of tension in the back muscles and promotes spinal alignment, making it an effective practice for alleviating back pain and discomfort. Crocodile Breathing primarily benefits the musculoskeletal system by relieving stress and tension in the lower back. It can also improve overall relaxation and promote emotional well-being by engaging the relaxation response of the autonomic nervous system. This practice is particularly valuable for individuals seeking a natural and non-invasive approach to managing back pain and enhancing their physical comfort.

Vidya Living

Sama Vritti (Equal Breathing) For Nervous System

How to do it: Inhale and exhale for an equal count to balance the nervous system and enhance concentration.

Sama Vritti, also known as Equal Breathing, is a yogic technique that finds its origins in ancient Indian traditions. This practice involves inhaling and exhaling for an equal count, creating a balanced and rhythmic pattern of breath. By regulating the breath in this manner, Sama Vritti aims to balance the autonomic nervous system, harmonizing both the sympathetic and parasympathetic aspects. The even, measured breath fosters a state of equilibrium, reducing stress and promoting relaxation. It also enhances concentration and mindfulness, making it a valuable tool for meditation and improved focus. Equal Breathing benefits various parts of the body by engaging the respiratory system, promoting a sense of calm, and facilitating mental clarity. This technique is particularly useful for individuals looking to manage stress, enhance their attention span, and support overall well-being.

World Yoga Forum

Bellows Breath (Bhastrika) Creates Alertness

How to do it: Rapid, forceful inhalations and exhalations to increase alertness and energy.

Bellows Breath, or Bhastrika, is a breathing technique rooted in ancient yogic practices. Originating from India, this method involves rapid, forceful inhalations and exhalations through the nostrils, creating a sound reminiscent of a blacksmith’s bellows. Bhastrika’s primary purpose is to increase alertness and energy by enhancing oxygen intake and stimulating the nervous system. The vigorous and rhythmic breath pattern quickly oxygenates the body, leading to heightened mental alertness and a surge of vitality. This technique predominantly benefits the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, as it improves lung capacity, promotes efficient oxygen distribution, and can elevate the heart rate. By boosting energy levels and mental clarity, Bhastrika is a useful practice for individuals seeking a natural way to invigorate the body and mind, especially during moments of fatigue or lethargy.

Enigma Peru

Andean Mountain Breath For High Altitude

How to do it: Take deep, slow breaths while visualizing high mountain tops and crisp high-altitude air.

This technique is inspired by the high-altitude regions of the Andes in South America. In this practice, you can take deep, slow breaths while visualizing the crisp, clean air of the Andean mountains. Imagine the pure mountain air entering your lungs and filling your body with vitality as you inhale, and as you exhale, visualize releasing any tension and negative energy. This practice connects you with the idea of being in harmony with nature and encourages deep, mindful breathing. There are also ways to exercise for high-altitude terrains. A simple way to start is by inhaling to your maximum capacity, then holding for 3 counts, exhaling fully, and slowly increasing the counts as you progress.

Ekhart Yoga

Sitali (Cooling Breath) To Cool The Body

How to do it: Inhale through a rolled tongue or pursed lips to reduce body heat and calm the mind.

Sitali, or the Cooling Breath, is a breathing technique rooted in yoga and Ayurveda practices, designed to reduce body heat and bring about a sense of calm. In this practice, one inhales air through a rolled tongue or pursed lips, allowing it to pass over the tongue’s surface to cool before entering the lungs. This cooling effect can help lower body temperature, especially during periods of heat or heightened stress. Sitali works by activating the body’s thermoregulatory mechanisms and engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and a sense of coolness. This technique primarily benefits the thermoregulatory system by helping maintain a balanced body temperature, as well as the respiratory system by encouraging deeper and more deliberate breathing. It is also a valuable tool for reducing stress and fostering a sense of mental tranquility, making it ideal for individuals seeking natural cooling and emotional well-being.

Fitsri Yoga

Surya Bhedana (Right Nostril Breathing)

How to do it: Inhale and exhale primarily through the right nostril to energize the body and mind.

Surya Bhedana, known as Right Nostril Breathing, is a yogic breathing technique originating from traditional Indian practices. Surya, or sun, refers to the right nostril of the nose, which is connected to the Pingala nadi of the body. Bhedana means to pierce or pass through. This method involves inhaling and exhaling primarily through the right nostril while closing the left nostril. The right nostril is associated with the body’s solar or energizing aspect, and this technique works by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. By doing so, it increases alertness and invigorates the body and mind. Surya Bhedana primarily benefits the respiratory and nervous systems. It enhances lung capacity and oxygen uptake while boosting energy levels and mental clarity. This practice is particularly valuable for individuals seeking a natural way to activate and energize the body, making it an ideal choice for those looking to kickstart their day or stay alert during periods of fatigue.

Prana Sutra

Chandra Bhedana (Left Nostril Breathing)

How to do it: Inhale and exhale primarily through the left nostril to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Chandra Bhedana Pranayama is one of the lesser known yogic breathing techniques in which you inhale through one nostril only, and out through the opposite nostril. Chandra refers to the moon, or ‘tha’ syllable in Hatha, which represents a cooling and calm energy. Bhedana means ‘piercing’, and this is why Chandra Bhedana is also known as the moon piercing breath. This technique involves inhaling and exhaling primarily through the left nostril while closing the right nostril. The left nostril is associated with the body’s lunar or calming aspect, and this practice works by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. It promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and soothes the mind. Chandra Bhedana primarily benefits the respiratory and nervous systems. It encourages deep, soothing breaths, allowing for better oxygenation and lower heart rates. This breathing strategy can be used for individuals seeking a natural and non-invasive approach to manage stress, enhance relaxation, and promote emotional well-being, making it an ideal choice for those dealing with anxiety, tension, or moments of restlessness.

African Drumming Online

African Drumming Breath

In many African cultures, drumming is a significant part of rituals and ceremonies. You can incorporate the rhythm of drumming into a breathing exercise by inhaling slowly and deeply while imagining the steady, grounding beat of an African drum. Then, exhale with the rhythm as you would with a drum, envisioning each breath as a beat. This technique can help promote relaxation and mindfulness while connecting with African cultural elements. Please note that these are not traditional African breathing techniques but rather inspired by African culture. If you are interested in specific African breathing practices, it is recommended to consult with experts or practitioners from African traditions for more information.


Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

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Crocodile Breathing: a foundation for strength & control,and%20relieving%20shortness%20of%20breath.,total%20of%20four%20breath%20cycles.

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