The Techniques and Benefits of Controlled Breathing

When was the last time you felt stressed or under pressure? Whether it be Mercury’s retrograde or the simple curveballs life throws at us, there is no doubt that stress can affect the best of us.


Focused breathing is a great solution for activating a relaxation response in the brain. It is a tool that can be used for increasing concentration, enhancing alertness and strengthening the immune system.


“Breath meditation by itself reveals to us the truth of body, feelings, mind and mental phenomena,” according to Breath Meditation.


But what if we don’t have time for a formal meditation session? Focused breathing is a subtle, yet still powerful practice, which is practical for anyone on the go. The New York Times lists three practices of focused breathing that are designed for your specific needs. Adopting any of these techniques should instantly calm your nervous system, and what Buddha believes will bring you closer to Nirvana.


Coherent breathing involves taking five equal breaths per minute. This is the perfect on-the-go mediation practice. Inhale for a count of five, pause and exhale for a count of six, repeating for one minute every hour.


Rock and Roll breathing is great for relieving stress. Sit up straight, either on the floor or in a chair, and place your hands on your belly. Lean forward on the inhale and rock backward on the exhale. Do this exercise twenty times, but do not rush; take your time and appreciate the mindful breathing.


HA breathing involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth with a great sigh. Start by standing up with your palms facing upward. On the inhale, pull your elbows in. On the exhale, draw your arms forward with elbows still bent while flipping your palms downward. Release a strong “HA” on the exhale. Repeat 10 to 15 times quickly, but controlled.


When you have a little bit more time on your hands, check out the Stop, Breathe and Think App. It is a personal meditation buddy that you can take anywhere. All you must do is sign up and you become one step closer toward mindful thinking. You can check in for the day to input your emotions and the app will give you personalized meditation sessions.