Your breath is the most powerful tool you have to help you make quick mindset shifts! Plus, it goes with you wherever you go and doesn’t take up any room in your suitcase! I don’t know about you, but I always need more room for shoes.
Last week in the Breakthrough with Breathwork series we talked about how you can use a breathwork practice to help you lower your stress and anxiety. This week we’re going to learn how to use your breathwork practice to increase your energy.
It’s a tough call for me, but, hand-to-heart, I swear a good breathwork session can have me feeling more high energy than a cup of coffee and you know how much I love me some coffee.
The wonderful thing about breathwork isn’t just how it can help you shift mindsets, but how quickly it can do it.
I practice meditation regularly, and while I love it, meditation isn’t a practice where I can just sit down and, wham, I’m in the moment! It takes me about 5-to-10 minutes before I start to feel the stress slipping away from my body and my mind start to quiet.
With breathwork, the results are almost instantaneous and I can practice it anywhere. Whether I’m on my meditation cushion or at my desk working, I can feel the stress start to fall away and my brain quiet the second I start to breathe more deeply into my diaphragm.
Breathwork helps you reconnect your mind to your body in a world where our minds always seem to be in hyperdrive leaving our poor bodies as an afterthought until they’re forced to speak up through autoimmune issues, chronic pain, insomnia and much more.
If you aren’t familiar with the practice of breathwork go check out my first post in the series for an intro for beginners on what breathwork is!
*This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.*
How Breathwork Can Provide Greater Energy and Focus
When we’re stressed we tend to not breathe fully. We take short and shallow breaths into our chest and rob ourselves of the energy we’d be receiving from deep and long diaphragmatic breaths.
When you’re breathing correctly it helps to balance out the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your system. These are both necessary for energy and focus.
If you feel tired, foggy, slow, and unfocused despite getting regularly sleep then a breathwork practice can help you find your energy again.
Want to know more about the benefits of breathwork? Check out this post!
Breathwork Practices for Energy and Focus
The next time you reach for that afternoon cup of coffee try out one of these breathwork practices for a greater energy boost instead and without the jitters!
Two Count Inhale
You can do this one laying on the ground or sitting up. I prefer laying on the ground as it’s easier to take fuller breaths that way.
Start by inhaling for a count of two.
Exhale for a count of two.
Inhale for a count of two.
Exhale for a count of three.
Inhale for a count of two.
Exhale for a count of four.
Inhale for a count of two.
Exhale for a count of five.
You can go through this exercise multiple times for better attention and increased energy!
Bellows Breath or the Stimulating Breath
This is going to be one you don’t want to do in an open office space because it will be noisier than the other breathing cadences we’ve practiced.
Inhale and exhale quickly through your nose only. Your mouth will be closed.
The goal here is to do each inhale and exhale as short as possible. Here’s a video to give you an example.
In my humble opinion, it kind of sounds like a dog panting but through your nose.
The influx of oxygen is a great way to reinvigorate yourself if you’re starting to get distracted or sleepy.
Start with doing this for 15-seconds and slowly increasing from there each time you practice your bellows breath until you reach a minute.
Remember, you still want to be breathing deeply into your lower belly even though we’re breathing more quickly.
Enjoy the energy rush!
Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious or Ocean Breath)
This breathing practice works by helping you balance the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your system so that your body is working at its optimum levels. If you’re feeling stressed out it can help you feel calmer and if you’re feeling burned out it can help revitalize you!
While sitting up, keep your lips closed and breathe in through your nose.
When you’re first starting, exhale with your mouth open and make a soft “ahhh” noise as you breathe out.
As you begin to become more familiar with this breathing type try closing your lips while you’re doing it but keep the throat constriction you had while saying “ahhhh”. Really get that Darth Vader sound going.
This video from Yoga with Adriene does a fab job of showing you how this breath should look and sound!
Modified Wim Hof Technique
Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, is a well known Dutch adventurer who uses breathwork and cold exposure to help your body operate as efficiently as possible. He’s pretty much a badass.
This practice can be done laying down or sitting up.
Breathe in and out through your mouth as quickly as possible for 30 breaths. You can take this slowly until you get acclimated to the practice.
Once you’re done, inhale one more time as fully as possible and then let the breath out. Hold after all the air has exhaled until you feel some moderate discomfort.
I like to do a few rounds of this because the first round is usually phlegm filled at first. Sexy, right!?
Also, keep water on hand because this can definitely dry your mouth out.
Here’s a quick vid to take you through the process!
How to Begin Implementing a Breathwork Practice for More Energy and Focus
Unlike beginning a breathwork practice for stress reduction which requires you to calm down your nervous system enough to set a new lower stress baseline, I don’t think it’s necessary to practice breathwork regularly in order to optimize your energy and focus. Just do it when you need to!
Whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or lethargic try out one of the above breathing methods.
It’s perfectly fine if one of them doesn’t speak to you. Everyone’s body operates differently and what works for one person isn’t going to work for another. Don’t get discouraged.
Try out the above techniques and note how you feel after each one.
Do you feel energized after Bellows Breath but more focused after the Wim Hof method?
Find which breathing pattern works to create the desired mindset you’re looking to cultivate.
Keep track of your experiences in your free reflection journal so you can note any patterns that come up and experience the changes over time!
Join others on their breathwork journey in the BuddhaBelly BreathWork FB Group and get notifications of free virtual group sessions by hopping on my VIP newsletter list!
Stay tuned for next week’s post in the Breathwork Series about how to gain greater clarity and get in touch with your intuition!
Want to keep reading? Check out these related posts:
- Breathwork Series: Intro to Breathwork for Beginners
- Breathwork Series: What are the Benefits of Breathwork?
- Breathwork Series: How to Practice Breathwork for Stress Relief