3 Deep-Breathing Exercises for a Boost of Energy and Focus
Are you tuned in to your breath? Something as simple as breathing can be a powerful tool for clearing your mind, and renewing your energy level. Often, we think of deep breathing as something only for relaxation, and it’s true that breathing exercises are a great stress reliever! But they aren’t just for bedtime. Some deep breathing exercises can actually energize you, and increase your concentration.
Here are some great breathing exercises to motivate and energize you. Try them first thing in the morning, after lunch, or any time you need a fresh wave of energy.
4, 7, 8 Breath
The 4, 7, 8 Breath is a great breathing exercise to increase your concentration, and clear your head before tackling a project. As you do it, try not to think of anything except the exercise. Focus on counting as you breathe, and keeping your tongue in place.
- Sit with legs crossed and back straight.
- Touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, just behind your top front teeth. Hold your tongue in this spot for the entire exercise.
- Through your nose, inhale for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. With your tongue still on the roof of your mouth, exhale deeply through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat the whole cycle three more times.
Your breaths can be long or short; what’s important is the ratio of time you spend inhaling, holding, and exhaling. With time, practice slowing down your counting and lengthening your breaths for an even deeper exercise.
Breath of Fire
This powerful breathing method is a fixture in Kundalini yoga. It’s a great, energizing way to relieve tension, and it gets your blood pumping and recharges your body with oxygen. Start small, and gradually increase the quickness of your inhales and exhales, and the duration of the exercise.
- Sit with legs crossed and back straight and tall.
- Place your hands, with palms up, on your knees.
- Take short, quick breaths, pushing your navel out with each inhale, and bringing it in tightly with each exhale.
- Once you have a rhythm established, close your mouth and continue breathing through your nose, moving your stomach with each breath.
Start by doing the exercise for no more than a minute at a time, and slowly work your way up to three or more minutes. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop. You’ll gradually strengthen your lungs with practice.
Visualization Breathing Exercise
This exercise combines two powerful self-care tools: deep breathing, and positive visualization. Visualizing what you want to achieve can help you reach your goals, and it can clear your mind for what you want to accomplish.
- Lie flat on your back, preferable on a blanket or yoga mat on the floor.
- Place your palms on your solar plexus, the spot on your torso just below your ribs. Spend a few minutes breathing deeply and clearing your mind.
- Inhale as deeply as you can, and visualize the breath going right to the area on your torso under your palms. Hold the breath for just a few seconds, visualizing the breath radiating out from your abdomen, spreading energy through your entire body.
- Exhale completely. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like, for up to ten minutes.
This exercise can also be a kind of meditation, since you’re training your mind to focus on the breath. Try it first thing in the morning, to start your day centered and refreshed.
When it comes to self care, breathing exercises are one of the easiest techniques to work into your routine. I hope you’ll try one of these energizing exercises next time you need a pick-me-up!