Detox Your Lungs to Feel Refreshed
Spring is in the air! A time to emerge from the stillness of winter, pull back the blinds, and watch as new life takes form. As the sun shines its light on us we feel refreshed. There’s a sense of connection that is undeniable between us and nature. And just as we find ourselves de-cluttering our home so too must we cleanse our internal space. Detoxing ourselves of unwanted emotions that became stagnant over the long cold winter.
Winter is a time to slow down, be still, and reflect on days past. It is also a time of imbalance due to the lack of sunlight, outdoor activity, and an excessive amount of sitting. This can cause…
Add the effects piling up from the pandemic and it’s easy to see why so many are burdened with the stress caused by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Your breath is a built-in source of connectivity; Helping you to feel revived as the dark clouds part for more sunny days ahead.
Below are 3 simple breathing techniques to help you connect to a deep full breath. Making room inside for you to clear space to breathe into a new season of life.
- Breath of Fire
This is a popular breathing technique that shows up in many yoga classes. Doing this for 7 minutes will completely cleanse your bloodstream. I always suggest doing this deep cleansing breathwork in the morning. It helps get you up and moving because it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. The quick sharp exhales help move energy and detox any stagnant air that has built up in the lungs.
To do this technique…
- Find your seat, either cross-legged or hips to heels.
- Back is tall and eyes are closed or fixed on one point.
- Place hands on your thighs, lap, or against your ribcage to feel the sharp movement.
- Inhale through the nose, allowing the air to move deep into your belly.
- Without pausing, exhale forcefully through your nose as your abdominal muscles contract in.
- Keep doing this action at about one exhale per second.
- The inhales will happen naturally, just focus on the exhales.
- Continue at this rapid pace for about 30 seconds to start.
- Practice daily in the morning and increase the time as you grow.
The challenge with Breath of Fire is to start in small increments. There is a tendency to move your shoulders with your breath and go too fast. You want to maintain control over your breath so start with 30 seconds of focused exhales. Shoulders remain still and keep a pace of one exhale per second. I like to set a metronome on my phone to help me keep the pace.
Because this is stimulating breathwork, it is not uncommon to get dizzy, light-headed, or feel nauseous. You are moving energy that has been hanging out in the bottom of your lungs for a long time so this is to be expected. Also because of the intense pumping of your stomach muscles, I would avoid this one if you are pregnant or on your moon cycle.
Breath of Fire is sure to set your day in a more positive direction and is a fast, effective way to stimulate and regulate your nervous system.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is a fantastic way to balance the right and left hemispheres of your brain. It can be done at any time that feels most natural to you. Because of its balancing nature, it can be used to help bring your energy up if you’re feeling low, or calm you down if you are feeling anxious. Not only does this breathwork balance you out but it helps you find focus, too.
If you are new to Alternate Nostril Breathing I recommend keeping a tissue handy. This work can get a little snotty and might feel impossible at first. If you are sick or congested you might want to hold off until you can better access your breath equally through both nostrils.
This is a fairly simple practice, but it does take time to get all the moving parts down correctly. I do recommend watching a video on how to perform this one correctly here.
As you balance your brain, there is a lot to think about:
- Keep your breath pattern slow and smooth.
- Focus on your breath and hand movement to remind you where you are in the cycle.
- Your breath should feel controllable throughout the practice.
You will be forcefully directing air in one nostril and out the other using your right hand. There is a hand mudra performed here that we will not be getting into today. For our purposes, of just learning the technique, you will keep it simple. Using just your thumb and pointer fingers.
To practice alternate nostril breathing:
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Place your left hand on your left knee or in your lap.
- Exhale completely.
- Use the right thumb to close the right nostril.
- Inhale through the left nostril.
- Pinch the left nostril with your pointer finger.
- Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.
- Stay here.
- Inhale through the right nostril.
- Pinch closed this nostril.
- Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.
- This is one cycle.
- Continue for 5 to 10 rounds.
- Always complete the practice by finishing with an exhale on the left side.
If you are left-hand dominant feel free to reverse the whole pattern. Traditionally you wouldn’t do this, but I say if it helps you breathe, then go for it.
Once you have the pattern down add a count to help your breaths be slow and steady.
- Inhale for a 4 count.
- Hold for a 2 count while you pinch and switch from your thumb to your pointer.
- Exhale for a 4 count.
- Short pause.
- Inhale for a 4 count.
- Hold for a 2 count while you pinch and switch from your pointer to your thumb.
- Exhale out for a 4 count.
Alternate Nostril Breathing is one of the best ways to balance out your nervous system and anchor you into the moment. Leaving you feeling relaxed and cleansed.
- Stop and Smell the Flowers
Here’s a fun one you can do with the kids. Exploring your breath is fun and inviting. In many ways, it is a game to be played that brings you closer to a deeper understanding of self. Encouraging kids to get involved and become aware of how their bodies work is something that they can use their entire life.
Stop and smell the flowers guides you through a simple visualization that encourages deep full breaths.
- Find a comfortable seat where you feel relaxed with a straight spine.
- Soften or close your eyes.
- Begin to visualize yourself running through a field of the most beautiful wildflowers.
- Take a moment to discover all the colors, sizes, and shapes. Notice how each one is unique.
- Let your eyes come to rest on the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen. Visualize every detail about it as you move in closer to observe.
- See yourself sitting eye to eye with it. Taking in the color, size, and shape.
- Bring your nose right to the heart of the flower and take a nice smooth deep inhale.
- Hold it in at the top of your breath and feel the essence of spring.
- Open your mouth and exhale it all out with a nice refreshing sigh.
- Stay with the same flower letting your imagination explore the field as you continue to breathe in the aroma and exhale with a sigh.
- About 5 or 6 rounds will have you feeling calm, clear, and rejuvenated.
Naturally cleanse from the inside out with Conscious Connected Breathwork
Focusing on your breath for as little as five minutes a day helps release tension carried in the mind and the body. Mentally, emotionally, and physically you can begin to detox naturally with every exhale. At the end of five focused minutes, you will feel more relaxed. Your blood will be cleansed, your mind clear, and your nervous system balanced.
I help clients breathe through all kinds of issues:
- Help restore balance to the stress response systems.
- Bring calm to an agitated mind.
- Relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Improve physical health and endurance.
- Elevate performance.
- Aid in sleep deprivation.
If you are interested in learning more, I am here to guide you.
Whether you are local to the Seattle area or looking for assistance remotely, I can help. Allow me to guide you in this experience of transformative healing.
Learn more about my in-person and virtual offerings HERE.