Try yoga breathing if you want to send your body a message to relax, reduce pain or go to sleep. Most of us breathe fast and shallow during our busy lives. Rapid breathing tricks the body into thinking it is stressed; yoga breathing tells the body a different story. Shallow breathing deprives us of the efficient delivery of oxygen to blood as it circulates in our arteries and veins. Lack of enough oxygen lets toxins pile up in our cells, slowing us mentally and depressing us emotionally. We need good old oxygen to nourish and repair cells and to keep us alert and feeling up.

Are you ready to tell your body to wise up and calm down with oxygen? Here are two very simple methods.

The first comes from the wonderful folks at For Dummies, and gives us How to Use Yogic Breathing Techniques:

  1. First, sit comfortably in a chair.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Let your breath flow in a long, smooth, and peaceful movement. Inhaling and exhaling through your nose would be ideal. If you cannot breathe only through your nose, use a combination of nose and mouth or just the mouth.
  4. Inhale as deeply as you can and exhale as fully as you can. Repeat this inhale and exhale 20 times and then gradually return your breathing to normal.

Finish by spending a few moments sitting with your eyes closed and noticing the difference in how you feel overall.

Don’t you feel better already?

The second technique comes from Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Weil says this ‘4-7-8’ breathing trick will send you to sleep in less than one minute. He recommends that you do this at least twice each day to help you fall asleep, and adds that you can do it more often throughout the day. You can expect to see results after 4 to 6 weeks.

Start practicing ‘4-7-8’ method with these steps:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth while making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth while making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  5. The steps above count as one breath. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

For more information from For Dummies, see How to Use Yogic Breathing Techniques, and to see a demonstration of Dr. Weil’s ‘4-7-8’ method go here.