In the previous article ‘How to practice deep breathing?’ we went deeper into the basics of deep breathing and covered two techniques for beginners. If you are already more experienced within this practice the following four breathing techniques might be for you!
EQUAL BREATHING or SAMA VRITTI
This is a deep breathing technique where the inhale and exhale are the same length. Vritti refers to variations of the mind. Sama Vritti is considered to be a soothing, calming and centering Pranayama breathing technique. In addition this is a great technique for falling asleep faster, soothing our mind and reducing agitation and anxiety. When we perform Sama Vritti, our parasympathetic nervous system is engaged which helps to reach a more relaxed, restorative and balanced state. 4
- Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
- If you are using a timer set it to your desired amount of time.
- Inhale through your nose and count to 5.
- Exhale through your nose and count to 5.
- Repeat few times or until your timer goes off.
- With time, increase the duration of the inhale and exhale to 10 counts.
- Repeat few times.
- Once you’re comfortable with 5 counts slowly increase it.
While there are already in general a lot of different breathing techniques. Within QiGong there are many forms of breathing techniques, depending on the type of Qi you want. However within this article we will only go over the primary breathing practice called “The Original Breath”. It is called “The Original Breath” because it reflects the way an infant would breath.3 Qi is said to be part of inanimate matter, living beings and thought.5 In traditional Chinese culture, qi is believed to be a vital force, the flow of which must be unimpeded for health.6 Similar to the concept of opening your chakra’s with for instance chakra meditation, the goal of this practice is to enable the energy inside of you to flow freely.7, 8
- Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
- Try to find a balance between having a good posture and sitting more relaxed. “Good postural alignment helps the flow of Qi, but the excess tension of perfectionism tends to constrict the Qi.”3
- Put your hands over your navel, and begin to notice your breathing.
- Try to breath longer, smoother and deeper.
- Your lower abdomen should move with your breath.
- As you breathe in, notice your belly expand.
- As you breathe out, notice your belly relax back inwards.
Humming bee breathing
If you want to instantly calm your mind and release anger, anxiety and frustration the humming bee breathing technique or Bhramari Pranayama might be for you. This technique is another Pranayama breathing technique that has many great benefits for our mental and physical health. It instantly calms our mind and the humming sound made throughout the exercise is a great way to instantly release tension, frustration, anxiety and anger since it has a natural calming effect. It is also very effective for those suffering from hypertension since it calms down the mind. Furthermore, it provides relief if you are feeling hot or have a slight headache or even a migraine. It also lowers blood pressure, improves concentration and memory, builds confidence and it’s a great exercise to do before meditating since it helps to calm the mind.1
- Sit comfortably
- Close your eyes
- Relax your face and gently smile
- Place your index finger on your ear
- Take a deep slow breath through your nose
- Keep your mouth closed
- Gently press down your ear
- Exhale through your nose
- Make a loud humming sound
- Repeat 3 to 4 times
Lion’s breath is an energizing, deep breathing yoga technique that relieves stress and tension in your body and especially in your chest and face and it also improves the circulation in your body. Lion’s breath is one of those fun and silly breathing techniques, great for blowing off some steam since it opens up the energy center in your throat. Most often, it is done in the morning to energize and wake you up.2
- Sit in a comfortable position, either on your heels or with your legs crossed.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Press your palms against your thighs or knees + spread your fingers wide. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Take a deep breath through your nose and open your eyes wide.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Simultaneously, open your mouth wide + stick out your tongue + bring the tip of your tongue down to your chin.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Exhale through your mouth making a “HA” sound, but do not engage your vocal cords (as if you’re fogging up a window). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Turn your gaze towards the space between your eyebrows (third eye).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Repeat 2-3 times.
Thank you for joining us today and learning about different breathing techniques. If you are interested in a meditation technique that uses deep breathing at its core click HERE. Follow us @mykeytohappiness_official on Instagram and mykeytohappiness on YouTube to stay up to date.
Which breathing technique are you interested to try? Let us know!
Stay healthy and safe friends!
1 artofliving. (n.d.). Bhramari Pranayama – Humming Bee Breathing. Retrieved from The Art Of Living Global: https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/breathing-techniques/bhramari-pranayama
2 Cronkleton, E. (2019, April 9). 10 Breathing Exercises to Try: For Stress, Training & Lung Capacity. Retrieved from healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise#lions-breath
3 LOFFREE, N. (2019, February 4). QiGong Breathing Exercises to Restore Qi. Retrieved from DAO Labs: https://mydaolabs.com/blogs/the-way/qigong-breathing-exercises-to-restore-qi
4 Yogapedia. (n.d.). What is Sama-Vritti? Retrieved from Yogapedia: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/8594/sama-vritti
5 Adler, Joseph (2005), “Chinese Religion: An Overview”, in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd Ed., Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA
6 Adler, Joseph A. (2011). The Heritage of Non-Theistic Belief in China (PDF). (Conference paper) Toward a Reasonable World: The Heritage of Western Humanism, Skepticism, and Freethought. San Diego, CA.
7 Teiser, Stephen F. (1996), “The Spirits of Chinese Religion” (PDF), in Donald S. Lopez Jr. (ed.), Religions of China in Practice, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, extracts at The Chinese Cosmos: Basic Concepts.
8 Yu, Deng; Shuanli, Zhu; Peng, Xu; Hai, Deng (1 January 2003). “Ration of Qi with Modern Essential on Traditional Chinese Medicine Qi: Qi Set, Qi Element”. Journal of Mathematical Medicine. 16 (4).