Happy New DECADE, Nose Breathers!
Maybe it’s no surprise that the simplest New Years resolution we’ll be making in 2020 is to focus on our breath. Of course, we’re already in the business of focusing on our breath, but we see it this way: as much as each new year is an opportunity to incorporate new resolutions, it’s also an opportunity to solidify ones we’ve spent the past year working on. And, being conscious of the way you breathe is an easy—yet fundamental—method for building your best self, both physically and mentally. Think of this resolution as the ground floor for all the other ones you might want to bring into 2020: when you direct attention to your breath, you’re also directing attention to your body, your mind, your emotions, and to the present moment.
So, without further ado, here are three of our favorite ways to do just that.
- Put a nose breather’s spin on your next yoga practice, and apply what you learn to any workout to follow.
Yoga is all about breathwork, the act of uniting your body’s movements with the flow of your breath. Though yoga employs different modes of breath to achieve different outcomes in the body, we love running through a full vinyasa practice breathing in and out only through our nose. We’ve noticed that this act of cycling through breath as our bodies cycle through a repeating and evolving series of movements becomes like a sort of muscle memory for us, and when we move in to more strenuous activity (or stressful activity), our bodies are able to lock back into the same deep, nourishing breathing to keep us centered.
- Start your mornings with a brief, breath-focused meditation.
Deep breathing has served as the basis of meditation for thousands of years, and even quick breathing exercises can help clear your mind of clutter and give your body a little bit of a reset. Here’s a simple way to get started:
Set a timer for five minutes, and sit comfortably with your back straight and supported. Inhale deeply though your nose for six seconds, hold for four seconds, and exhale through your nose for eight seconds. Take ten breaths this way, then allow yourself to breathe naturally, taking stock of how each breath affects your body, and how your body naturally falls into the effortless rhythm of breathing. That’s it!
If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out our post on pranayama, or alternate nostril breathing.
- Practice visualizing your breath, and how it nourishes your body.
Another technique we snagged from our yoga studio—visualizing your breath. There are so many applications for this, but here’s a technique you might not expect from us. When you’re in the midst of a heavy workout, or if you’re new to nose breathing, you might find there are times when you might have to breathe through your mouth, even with Intake on. When you do have to switch to a few mouth breaths, try to take in air slowly, and visualize each breath as though you are taking in energy from the earth in through your mouth, and to your whole body. Imagine this air lighting up all the cells in your body as you inhale, replenishing you from the lungs outward. Though chronic mouth breathing is linked to cognitive and physical stress, we’ve found that simply remaining mindful of the breath we do take in through our mouth helps us stay mentally centered and physically energetic. It’s all about being conscious of your body, and the incredible way that it works.