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10 Breathing Exercises to Try When You’re Feeling Stressed

Photo credit: (@benzoix)

1. Pursed Lip Breathing

This technique slows your breathing pace by making each breath deliberate.

To do it:

  • Relax your neck and shoulders.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose for 2 counts with your mouth closed.
  • Pucker your lips as if to whistle.
  • Exhale slowly through your pursed lips for 4 counts.

2. Belly Breathing

Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, this helps you use your diaphragm properly.

To do it:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent.
  • Place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, letting your abdomen rise.
  • Exhale through pursed lips, tightening your abdominal muscles.

3. Breath Focus

Combine deep breathing with imagery or a focus word.

To do it:

  • Sit or lie comfortably.
  • Alternate between normal and deep breaths.
  • Focus on a calming word or phrase with each breath.

4. Lion’s Breath

This yoga practice relieves tension in the jaw and facial muscles.

To do it:

  • Sit back on your heels or cross-legged.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose with eyes wide.
  • Exhale with a “haaa” sound, sticking out your tongue.

5. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Known as Nadi Shodhana, this technique enhances relaxation and cardiovascular function.

To do it:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Close your right nostril with your thumb, inhale through your left.
  • Close your left nostril, exhale through your right.
  • Continue alternating for up to 5 minutes.

6. Equal Breathing

Sama Vritti focuses on equal-length inhales and exhales to bring balance.

To do it:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Inhale and exhale through your nose for equal counts (3-5).
  • Add a slight pause after each breath if comfortable.
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7. Resonant Breathing

Also called coherent breathing, this involves breathing at a rate of 5 breaths per minute.

To do it:

  • Inhale for a count of 5.
  • Exhale for a count of 5.
  • Continue for a few minutes.

8. Sitali Breath

This yoga practice cools your body and relaxes your mind.

To do it:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Curl your tongue or purse your lips if needed.
  • Inhale through your mouth.
  • Exhale through your nose.

9. Deep Breathing

Relieves shortness of breath and helps you feel more centered.

To do it:

  • Stand or sit with elbows slightly back.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Retain your breath for 5 counts.
  • Exhale slowly through your nose.

10. Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari)

Creates instant calm and soothes your forehead.

To do it:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes and relax.
  • Place fingers on the tragus cartilage.
  • Inhale and press your fingers as you exhale, making a humming sound.


Several breathing techniques can help you feel calmer and more relaxed when stressed. Find a quiet space to practice and set aside a few minutes each day. Gradually increase the duration and frequency as you become more comfortable.

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