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Harnessing the power of breath: techniques to calm your mind.

Updated: Apr 5

Trying to find moments of tranquility in everyday life can often feel like an elusive dream. Amidst the noise and busyness of life, our breath remains a steadfast anchor, offering a pathway to inner peace and clarity. We all breathe and hence we all have access to the transformative power of breathwork to quiet the mind and soothe the soul. There are many wonderful yoga breathing practices with accompanying mudras with the hands and detailed instructions which I share in my classes but here are a few relatively straightforward techniques to help you harness the innate power of your breath and cultivate a sense of calm whatever is going on in our life. If at any time these practices don’t feel right for you, please stop and don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me any questions and/ or let me know how you got on.

  1. Mindful Breathing: Simply observe the natural rhythm of your breath without trying to control it whether you are standing, sitting or lying down. Notice the sensations as air enters your nostrils and flows down your throat into the lungs and as the exhale reverses and leaves your body, anchoring your awareness in the present moment. Feel free to practise this as long as you wish. 

  2. Abdominal breathing: You can practise this sitting or lying down. Start by inhaling softly through your nose, allowing your lower abdomen / lower belly to expand to about 90% or so. Feel free to bring one hand to rest here and one hand gently on your chest and try and keep the expansion in the lower belly as opposed to the chest. Exhale gently and slowly through your nose visualising any tension release with each breath. Repeat this cycle several times, keeping the inhale and exhale the same length or feel free to lengthen your exhale compared to your inhale as long as this feels ok. You can practise this for as long as you wish, focusing on the rise and fall of your lower abdomen. If you are lying in bed or on the sofa place a pillow or cushion on your lower abdomen and notice if this helps the feeling of calmness.

  3. Alternate Nostril Breathing: Exhale softly and fully through both nostrils then close off your right nostril with your thumb and inhale softly and gently through the left nostril. Then at the top of your inhale close off your left nostril with your index finger, release your thumb from your right nostril and exhale through the right nostril. At the end of your exhale, softly inhale through the right nostril (with the left nostril still closed) and at the top of your inhale, close off your right nostril with your thumb again, release the left nostril and exhale through the left nostril. This is one round. Repeat and continue alternating for several breaths, keeping the breath quiet, soft and gentle with the same length of inhale and exhale. Finish off exhaling through the left nostril. You may wish to count to 2, 3 or 4 on the inhale and exhale or longer, as long as you are not straining to breathe, and you can also practise this sitting or lying down. 

By incorporating these breathwork techniques into your daily routine, you hopefully will cultivate a sense of calm and balance that radiates throughout your entire being. Remember, the power to find peace lies within you, waiting to be unlocked with each mindful breath.

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