A few quick-and-simple breath control techniques.

Arrive: deep breath

Predicament: worry about past or future, mistakes, failure, or for some other reason not being fully present


  • Take one deep breath
  • Fill and empty your lungs completely
  • Follow your inhale and your exhale from beginning to end
  • Repeat if you like, between 3-10 breaths
  • Breathe in and out through your nose if possible.

It can help to take one deep breath before starting to speak, or whenever you need to center your attention in the “here and now”.

Relax: extended exhale

Predicament: stress, anxiety, irritation


  • Extend your exhale, so that you breathe out longer than you breathe in.
    • If it helps, you can inhale to the count of four, exhale to the count of six
  • 1-3 breaths minimum
  • Breathe deeply and slowly, if you like breathe in through your nose, breathe out through your mouth.

The Ocean Breath or Ujjayi Pranayama is another calming breath control technique.

Energise: extended inhale

Predicament: exhaustion, fatigue, sleepiness


  • Extend your inhale, so that you breathe in longer than you breathe out.
    • If it helps, you can inhale to the count of six, exhale to the count of four.
  • 3-5 breaths minimum
  • Breathe through in and out through your nose or in through your nose and out through your mouth, whatever feels comfortable.

The Breath of Fire or Kapalabhati Pranayama is a more intense breath control technique that can increase energy and clarity. It consists of short, rapid inhales and exhales (like controlled hyperventilation) using the diaphragm to create the force required for quick inhalation and exhalation.

Focus: breath retention

Predicament: distraction, confusion, restlessness


  • Make your inhales and exhales the same duration
  • Start holding your breath between each inhale and exhale: Breathe in → hold → breathe out → hold
    • If it helps, you can inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four, exhale to the count of four, hold for the count of four
  • 5-10 breaths minimum
  • Breathe through your nose or mouth, whatever feels comfortable

For those interested meditation, mindful breathing can be a good start.

“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in, breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

  • breathing_exercises.txt
  • Last modified: 2021-02-16 09:24
  • by maja