2021 Wellness Program “The Beauty Chef”
Meditation practitioners for thousands of years have known that befriending one’s breath keeps the mind and body healthy. It also is good for living a more peaceful life. Scientists have been working to translate these ancient practices for today’s world. From very practical stress reduction to exploring one’s emotions, programs are being developed to meet contemporary problems.
8 Breathing Techniques for Heart and Brain Health
There are a vast number of methods and practices that focus on the breath. They all concentrate on various aspects of health and mental wellbeing. Many are easily available and easy to learn. Some you can do on your own and others are best practiced with a trained professional. It all depends on how deep you want to go.
While exploring all the options of breathwork to find which one meets your specific needs, here are a few techniques and practices to get you started:
- Mindful breathing. This involves becoming aware of your breath and focusing on it. It does not involve trying to change the way you breathe. However, the act of focusing on the breath usually slows down breathing patterns, making you feel more relaxed. As you focus on how air moves in and out through your lungs, mouth and nose, it becomes a form of calming meditation.
- Mantra breathing. This technique makes use of a mantra to help focus on your breath. A mantra is a phrase or word that you repeat to yourself to create focus. As you repeat it, you become able to relax and meditate.
- Square breathing. This employs visualization to create focus. As you inhale, visualize one side of a square. Then, visualize the next side of the square as you exhale. Repeat the process until you have imagined each side of a square.
- Nostril breathing. This technique can help to reduce agitation and anxiety. As you breathe you close off one nostril and take air in slowly through the other. Then switch, closing off the second nostril while breathing through the first. Repeat the process until you begin to feel calmer.
- Pranayama breathing. This cleansing breath method is used in the practice of yoga. Experts say that using pranayama has the power to clean 72,000 channels in the body. It involves inhaling with the mouth closed, then exhaling through the nose. This type of breathing technique can clean blood and clear your respiratory system. As a result, good clean oxygen travels to the heart and the brain.
- 4,7,8 Method. Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, this breathing method helps you get to sleep. It is a simple and straight forward method. You inhale to the count of four, hold your breath to the count of seven, and then exhale to the count of eight. Repeat as needed.
- Belly breath. This type of breathing is easy to practice because you can feel your body taking in and exhaling air by the movement of your abdomen. Lie down on a bed or on the floor. Place one hand on your stomach and inhale slowly through the nose (notice the abdomen rising). As you exhale, you contract the abdomen muscles and push the air out of your lungs
- The Wim Hof Method. This is a colorful and vibrant health perspective that is being validated by scientific studies. Wim Hof has developed a deep breathing practice that invigorates the nervous system. The goal is to reduce shallow breathing because it causes the body to oxidize and acidify. His technique takes a few minutes each day and has many positive outcomes for those who try it. You can tap into your body’s immune system and reset it. It’s worth checking out for those who are feeling adventurous.
- Take on this breath…of life!
- Breath is the gift of life…use it to help you, to heal you.
- Understand these techniques.
- Bring them to your daily life.
- Take time every morning for a few moments of deep breathing. It will sooth the soul and calm your cortisol levels. Bringing greater Joy to your daily life!
Chermoula-baked Salmon with Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Black Olives and Tricolor organic Quinoa.
(Inspired by page 166 of The Beauty Chef)
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