Peaceful mind, peaceful soul, peaceful life. When you’re able to ground yourself to achieve inner peace, everything else seems to fall in place around you.
So, what’s one of the most powerful ways to calm yourself when negative feelings or experiences seem to be getting the best of you? Mindfulness breathing exercises.
Mindful Breathing Defined
Mindful breathing is the beautifully simple practice of focusing on your breath and allowing everything else around you to fall away. When you move your attention to the natural pattern of your breathing, it anchors you to the moment while relaxing your mind and your body.
A calm and peaceful mind allows us to be in the present without resistance, and alignment to the present is the best medicine.
The simple task of breathing symbolizes the entire universe. Nothing is stable, and everything is constantly changing. Just like breathing, where we cannot hold on forever; we must let go.
The Importance of Breathing Through The Nose
Though many people breathe through the mouth, the more beneficial way to breathe is through the nose.
Aside from bringing inner calm, breathing through the nose also stimulates the diaphragm, which, in turn, massages the intestine. Well-functioning digestion has a lot to do with proper breathing. When our diaphragm is blocked or displaced, the position of our heart is forced to move upward and shift toward the left armpit. We want our heart to have plenty of room to beat powerfully, so our heart chakra also has plenty of room. No one can get comfortable if their heart must beat while “squeezed in” towards the armpit.
Breathing through the nose also warms the air before it enters the lungs, which is especially important in winter.
Little hairs inside the nose filter unwanted particles that may enter while breathing. These nasal hairs technically represent the first barrier of the immune system. Foreign bodies are transported out again by the sneezing reflex with a powerful blast of air.
Did you know there is a special, holistic nose oil that can protect, cleanse, and soothe the nasal passages?
If mucous membrane deposits form on the inside of the nose and gum up the hairs, it reduces the filtering function, allowing more bacteria and dirt to enter the nose. Put the oil on a cotton swab and clean your nose from the inside. If you use Röder therapy (cleaning the nose with an oil-soaked cotton swab), a sneezing reflex is triggered to help the clearing process.
3 Mindfulness Breathing Exercises
So, now that you understand the importance of breathing through your nose, let’s review some of the best mindfulness breathing exercises.
Start seated with your back straight for this breathing exercise to calm the nervous system. Here’s how to perform this breathing exercise:
1. Exhale completely from the mouth to compress the air out.
2. Keep your mouth closed, and slowly inhale for four seconds through your nose.
3. Once the seconds pass, hold your breath for seven seconds.
4. Exhale completely from the mouth vocally for eight seconds.
5. Repeat again.
Counting 4 Breathing or Box Breathing
Counting four breathing, four-square breathing, or box breathing, is a mindful breathing exercise that allows you to systematically reduce stress. (I personally like this method of evenly spaced, paced-breathing best.) Here’s how it works:
1. Breathe in for four seconds.
2. Hold that position with full lungs for another four seconds.
3. Breathe out for six seconds.
4. Repeat holding your breath for four more seconds.
5. Start over from step one.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Another mindful breathing exercise is alternate nostril breathing (also called nadi shodhana pranayama in Sanskrit). This method has been proven to strengthen cardiovascular function, slow heart rate, and promote relaxation. Try it out with these steps:
1. Begin in a seated position.
2. Exhale and then place your thumb and close your left nostril.
3. Breathe in through your right nostril only.
4. Then close your right nostril, and exhale out of your left nostril.
5. Keep your right nostril closed and inhale through your left nostril.
6. Close that left nostril, and exhale out of your right nostril.
7. Continue to repeat, alternating sides for about 10 rounds or so.
When To Use Mindfulness Breathing Exercises
Your breathing does more than just ground you. Here are some of the most important times to use mindful breathing exercises:
1. To slow racing heartbeats in moments of fear or anxiety
2. To relax when stress levels are high
3. To heal while feeling overwhelmed by external factors
4. To start off your day on the right foot
5. To calm yourself and get more quality sleep when waking up in the middle of your night
Remember, nothing in life is permanent. Use these mindful breathing exercises to achieve a much-needed peaceful mind for a more fulfilling life. You can’t hold on forever. Exhale and let go!
The Way of K
You can improve your nasal hygiene and strengthen the natural barrier of your immune system by using the oil-soaked cotton swab to enter the 3 channels accessible from the nostril. Similarly to reflexology treatments for the feet, this nasal reflex therapy, called Röder therapy, triggers certain points of the nasal mucosa related to specific organs. Physician and naturopath Heinrich Röder invented Röder therapy to help organisms get rid of toxins. To practice on yourself, you must learn the method from a holistic doctor or therapist first. Once you know the proper form, you can easily repeat it on your own without guidance.
The therapy activates the connective tissue, removes inflammatory substances through the lymphatic system, and stimulates the immune system. The sneeze, which is naturally triggered when the cotton swab is inserted into the nose, helps get rid of the dirt particles and foreign bodies.
I use Röder therapy every day as preventive care. I highly recommend using it whenever you are indoors with air conditioning or filtered air, especially when flying on planes!
You should also try it when you already have a cold or sinusitis for faster relief.
When passages are treated with nasal reflex oil, mindful breathing is easier and more effective.
Which mindfulness breathing exercises will you be trying? Do you have any others you like? Share them below or on my Instagram!