Conscious breath work is at the center of mind-body integration. When your mind is upset, your breathing is disturbed—quick or uneven. When your mind is serene, your breathing is calm. Or, to put it another way: Breath is the movement of thought, and thought is the movement of breath.
There are different kinds of breathing techniques. Some energize you, while some soothe your body and quiet your mind.
Practicing conscious breathing—or Pranayama (prah-nah-YAH-mah)—for just a few minutes a day can reduce wear and tear on your body and slow the aging process. The other benefits:
The ujjayi (oo-jai-EE) breathing technique you will learn in this step can "clear the channels" and is beneficial if you are anxious or want to quiet your mind.
Eddie Stern, the instructor in the following video, is a renowned Ashtanga (ash-TONG-gah) yoga instructor in New York City, and often teaches me yoga. Here, Eddie guides you through a soothing ujjayi breathing exercise, which you can use when you become aggravated or upset.
Watch this video:
If you'd like a breathing exercise that gives you energy, try bhastrika (BAH-stree-kah) breathing, or “bellows breath.” This exercise invigorates you by cleansing your mind and moving oxygen through your cells.
Try it on your own by following the steps below:
*Remember: Always check with your doctor first before doing any new exercises or have any health concerns.
When you are finished watching the video, click the "Next" button to assess your experience.
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