March 2024

Comprehensive guide to Breathwork Techniques for Stress Relief

Comprehensive guide to Breathwork techniques for stress relief

Our modern grind culture, “crushing it” mentality, and overall toxic hustle culture is a common reason why life has become so stressful for many people. Not to mention the rising cost of living while trying to navigate the historical lack of salary increases. Then, as you observe these scenarios play out on social media, with people constantly showing off their luxury lifestyles, it can intensify feelings of inadequacy and lead to more stress. Whatever your reasons for feeling stressed and overwhelmed are, there are effective breathwork techniques that you can utilize to reduce those stress levels. This guide will explore various breathwork techniques that you can incorporate into your everyday routine to promote relaxation and inner peace. Stress effects on the body and mind: First, let’s talk about the impact of stress on our bodies and minds. Chronic stress can lead to a gamut of health conditions, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Many physical signs of stress manifest in the body such as physical fatigue (always feeling drained) due to lack of sleep which is due to stress, muscle aches and pains, anxiety attacks, high blood pressure and of course, difficulty breathing normally. Mental side effects due to chronic stress include difficulty concentrating on tasks you had no problems with previously (mental fog), constant feelings of anxiety or nervousness, and feeling irritable with yourself or others for no reason. Breathwork techniques for stress relief offer an approachable method to the above issues, prompting the body’s relaxation response and countering the effects of stress while promoting feelings of calm and well-being. Let’s take a look at some of the best breathing techniques to alleviate stress below. Best breathwork techniques for stress relief Deep Breathing – great for those beginning breathwork: Deep breathing involves slow, deliberate inhalations and exhalations, focusing on fully expanding the lungs and engaging the diaphragm. Practicing deep breathing for several minutes can calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: All the rage on Reddit, the 4-7-8 breathing technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight seconds. This method of breathing helps regulate the breath and induce a state of deep relaxation for better sleep. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is based on pranayama yogic breathing practices originating in India. Square breathing for stress: Square breathing, also known as box breathing, entails closing your eyes, inhaling through the nose, then holding the breath, slowly exhaling, and holding the breath again, each for a count of four seconds. If at first you feel lightheaded, only repeat once and slowly build up the reps to 1-2 times over the course of a few days until you get the hang of it. Make sure that you’re taking deep breaths – your stomach should be rising and falling with each inhale and exhale – as opposed to shallow breaths. Like other breathwork techniques,square breathing for stress can help quiet the mind and induce a feeling of calm and relieve stress. Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana: Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is another yogic breathing method that involves alternating the flow of breath between the left and right nostril. How to alternate nostril breathing the simple way: Start by inhaling through the left nostril while covering the right one with your right thumb, followed by exhaling through the left nostril. Next, inhale through the left again, but this time, cover the left nostril as you exhale through the right nostril. Repeat this process by alternating nostrils, focusing on relaxing and mentally uncluttering your senses. Sama Vritti or Equal Breathing: Equal breathing, also known as Sama Vritti, is a simple yet effective technique for stress relief. Begin by finding a comfortable seated position and closing your eyes. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of three or four seconds, allowing your abdomen to rise as you fill your lungs with air. Then, exhale through your nose for another three or four-second count, feeling your abdomen fall as you release the breath. Practice the Sama Vritti technique for a couple of minutes, gradually increasing the duration of seconds for your inhales/exhales as you become more comfortable. The key is to maintain an equal duration of time for both the inhalation and exhalation. Like other breathwork techniques, equal breathing can help calm the nervous system, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Lion’s Breath or Simhasana: Lion’s breath, or Simhasana, is a unique breathwork technique that involves forceful exhalation and vocalization. Begin by sitting comfortably with your spine tall and your hands resting on your knees. Inhale deeply through your nose, then open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue, exhaling forcefully with a “ha” sound, as if you were roaring like a lion. As you exhale, simultaneously gaze upward towards the space between your eyebrows. This powerful exhalation helps release tension in the chest and face, while the vocalization can help relieve stress and improve vocal flexibility. Lion’s breath is particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of release and liberation. Bee Breath or Bhramari: Bee breath, or Bhramari, is a relaxing breathwork technique that involves making a humming sound on the exhale. How to do bee breath: Begin by finding a comfortable seated position and closing your eyes. Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale slowly while making a low-pitched humming sound, like the buzzing of a bee. Feel the vibration of the sound reverberating throughout your body, soothing your nerves and calming the mind. Repeat this process several times, focusing on the sensation of the humming sound and allowing yourself to relax deeply with each exhale. Bee breath is particularly effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and tension, promoting a sense of inner peace and tranquility. Skull Shining Breath or Kapalabhati: Skull shining breath or Kapalabhati, is an energizing breathwork technique that involves rapid, forceful exhalations followed by passive inhalations. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position with

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Fall foliage fall colors brighten mood and lower stress

This unique fall activity brightens your mood and lowers stress

While some sigh a breath of relief for the end of summer and its unrelenting heat, for others it’s a disaster as it signals the end of bright, sunny days and the start of brisk, more overcast weather. However, for both the fall enthusiasts and fall detractors there are benefits to the autumn season as both groups can suffer from elevated fatigue and higher stress levels due to the colder weather. One of the best ways to lift up your spirits, improve mood and lower your stress levels is to take up fall foliage viewing or as it’s known by its less popular moniker, fall leaf peeping. What is fall foliage viewing and how can it help your mood? Fall foliage viewing is simply the act of observing or viewing plants and leaves change their colors from deep greens to vibrant fall colors like yellow, orange and red during the autumn season. Viewing fall colors while immersing yourself in this seasonal practice can significantly uplift mood and reduce stress levels, offering a low-cost alternative to wellness and mindfulness through nature. Where to see the best fall colors and fall foliage to uplift mood and improve relaxation? Curious where to find the most picturesque fall landscapes for elevating your mood during the autumn season? From hidden gems in cozy, small towns to the expansive beauty of American and Canadian national parks, we’ll guide you to the best spots to witness the magic of fall foliage and fall colors. The below list explores these stunning vistas, where trees transform into a canvas of burnt oranges, sage yellows, and rustic reds. The best places in the US for the colorful world of fall foliage and fall colors: Stowe, Vermont Also known as Fall’s Color Capital, the picturesque New England village of Stowe in Vermont transforms into a fall wonderland with sugar maple and hickory trees ablaze with vibrant rustic colors during autumn months. Take a scenic drive along Stowe Mountain and Smugglers Notch Scenic Highway for stunningly breath stopping vistas. Click here for Stowe’s foliage finder scenic route guides for more. Asheville, North Carolina Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the mountain city of Asheville, NC boasts a vast array of vivid fall hues. For a fully immersive experience, book a multi day drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway or hike through Pisgah National Forest for some truly awe-inspiring scenic autumn views. Best times to visit Asherville and Blue Ridge to see fall foliage and fall colors start in late September to early November. Acadia National Park, Maine Coastal splendor meets autumn beauty in Acadia National park. From Sand Beach in Bar Harbor to the park’s bike carriage roads there’s something for everyone. Take a day hike in Cadillac Mountain for panoramic views of fall foliage against the Atlantic Ocean backdrop. Now, when is the best time to see fall colors and fall foliage in Acadia National Park? According to the official Acadia National Park’s website, that time is generally in mid October. For more places, hikes and tours for seeing fall foliage in Acadia National park visit Acadia’s trip suggestions page. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina: Also known as The Smokies, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular US national parks, offering a vibrant tapestry of fall colors and of course, fall foliage. The Smokies’ fall colors are particularly spectacular due to the park having about 100 different species – sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and hickories are just some examples – of native trees within. The best time to visit depends on the elevation of the park. However, it seems like fall colors and fall foliage typically peak between mid-October and early November at mid and lower elevations of the park. For breathtaking views, take a trek up Clingmans Dome, the Foothills Parkway, or a drive down Newfound Gap Road. Plan your visit here. The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico A hidden gem in the Southwest, this scenic Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway takes you through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, providing a different kind of fall beauty with golden aspens against the high desert landscape. The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway drive begins in the town of Taos and is one of the best places to see fall colors and fall foliage along your Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway trip. Must see towns and attractions include: The Taos Pueblo (located in Taos) Questa, Red River, Eagle Nest Lake State Park and more. The best time to visit seems up for debate, but many sources report mid-October although some argue that late September to early to mid-October is peak fall foliage time in this region. Whatever you decide, plan your trip in advance and enjoy! Find more spots for fall colors and fall foliage in New Mexico state here. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon Experience autumn along the Columbia River as the Gorge transforms into a canvas of red, gold, and green hues. Two of the most popular spots include Multnomah Falls (highest waterfall in the Gorge at 620 feet) and the Rowena Crest Viewpoint which offers sweeping vistas of the Columbia River Gorge. Typically, late September to mid-October is the best time to see the Columbia River Gorge’s fall leaf foliage. For more info click here. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is renowned for its breathtaking fall foliage and fall hues of reds, oranges, and yellows. Hike the Stony Man trail to Stony Man Mountain’s prominent peak as it’s known for its stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley. Hiking the Hawksbill Mountain provides a more expansive experience, since it takes you up to Hawksbill Summit which is the highest point in Shenandoah at 4,050 feet. Due to the expansive size of the park and the weather, it makes it impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when fall color will peak. However, Shenandoah National Park’s fall season typically lasts from late September through October and November months, making

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