5 Must-Know Breathing Exercises to Release Tension in 10 Minutes
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Breathing exercises have been used by millions of people time immemorial, for many different purposes. One of their main uses is to calm the self, and release tension through multiple breathing techniques. As stress accumulates on a daily basis, practicing breathing exercises is a very smart way to achieve immediate relief. It can also help in lowering blood pressure, repel depression, and even increase your energy levels. Take a quick look at five different breathing techniques you could do in ten minutes or less.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

The first technique is called the alternate nostril breathing technique. To achieve this, you will need to start in a relaxed and stable position, normally cross-legged and upright on the floor. Alternatively, you can be sitting on a chair with your back straight, hands on your thighs and feet flat on the ground. Once you are comfortable, take your right thumb and press it over the right nostril, following with a deep inhale through the left nostril. Once you have inhaled at a maximum capacity, close the left nostril with your ring finger, remove your thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Continue to do this for as long as you see fit. It is believed to be most beneficial when you need to become focused or energized.

Progressive Relaxation

This technique is an effective way to release tension and has been known to be very efficient in office environments, since it does not require a specific stance or posture, and can be done anywhere. To begin, close your eyes and focus on each muscle group individually. The exercise requires you to tense, and then relax each of them, completing one muscle group before moving on to the next. Start with your feet and toes, and then move up from there, working your way to your head. During this entire process, maintain slow but deep breaths through your nose. Many doctors recommend using this technique in situations where you need to calm down rapidly, such as an anxiety attack.

The Bellows Breathing Technique

To perform this technique, you once again need to sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. This is important, especially on the first attempt, because doing it wrong or for too long entails the risk of losing consciousness, albeit momentarily. While sitting up straight, use your nose to breathe in and out of as fast as possible. You should be able to complete two or three full breaths per second. Do this for fifteen seconds only, if it is your first time. As you continue to do it, you may increase the duration by five seconds at a time, as you see fit. You will almost immediately feel its effects.

Equal Breathing

This technique is known easily executed as it entails you to focus on your breathing while counting. Simply inhale while counting to four followed an exhale to the count of four. All of this inhaling and exhaling is done through your nostrils. This provides trains the lungs while making you generate a calmer, more deliberate breath. Practicing this technique helps to calm your nervous system, release tension, reduce stress, and increase focus.

Guided Visualization

This popular technique requires your imagination. You first need to come up with a “happy place” that consists of everything you love. It doesn’t matter where it is, what it has, or anything else. It is whatever you want it to be. Once you have done that, practice visualizing this happy place whenever you feel tension rising, or any other emotion you want to ward off. Just inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth while focusing on your happy place will let you release tension easily.

You need not perform all five. Pick one of the exercises, one you like the most, and can easily and regularly practice. Use it at the beginning of your day to clear your mind and help you focus, at the end of the day to wash away negative energy, and instantaneously, any time the tension builds up and you need a quick fix.