At the end of a long day or even a stressful week, do you find it difficult to switch off? Perhaps the stresses of your day come with you to bed when you’re trying to fall asleep? If this sounds all too familiar, have you thought about practising breathwork?
Today, we’re sharing top tips from Richie Norton (@richienorton_) on how you can conduct your breathwork session to relax, unwind, and put everything to rest before you try and catch some Zzz.
First, What’s Breathwork?
Breathwork is a type of breathing exercise or technique practised to improve mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Most commonly, people practise breathwork to reduce stress and anxiety levels, to release negative thoughts, and for some, to increase their energy and concentration levels.
Whatever, your reason for practising breathwork, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience will differ from the next. It’s your opportunity to guide your journey, and to find a little calm in the chaos of everyday life!
Setting up Your Practice
If breathwork sounds like a little bit of you, here are some top tips on setting yourself up for your practice.
Start by going to a quiet place in your home. You may want to light a scented candle or spray a relaxing scent, or essential oil, around the room. After a few practices, you will connect your chosen aroma with feelings of peace and calm.
Then, think about your comfort. There is no right or wrong for how to sit during your practice. You may prefer to lay down, while others will sit upon a yoga block with their legs cross out in front. If you are sitting upright, then hold your shoulders back and do not slump over. And if you choose to lay down then do so with your legs stretched out, your arms out to the side and your palms facing up.
Guidance for Your Breathing Practise
To begin your practice, softly close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose with smooth, controlled breaths. You should feel your lungs and belly start to expand with each inhale and exhale. If you need too, you can even let out a big sign here!
During your first rounds of breathing, think about the entire process. Relax your face and start to soften your features, from your forehead to your eyes and your lips and jaw.
If you find your mind is racing, that’s okay! Our minds are used to being busy with distraction vying for our attention. If this is the case, simply acknowledge the thought and let it pass by.
Use the breathing in and out motion to create a cycle to find your rhythm. Notice how you feel, and continue to soften your body, grounding into the floor.
Every breath is an opportunity to let go a little bit more of the day!
Try a Body Scan
Once you are settled into your breathing cycle, you can move on with your practice and think a little deeper with a body scan.
To complete a body scan, breath in and after a slight pause at the top start to slowly release your breath and centre your thoughts on how the top of your head feels, and then move down your body to your forehead, eyes, lips, jawline, shoulders, arms, belly, and finally to your legs. When you move from body part to body part, soften it and feel yourself becoming more grounded.
To End Your Practice
Your breathing practice can last for as long or as little as you need, but don’t rush towards the end. Allow yourself to sit in the relaxed sensations and the state of zen you have created for yourself!
Now, are you ready for a good night sleep? We certainly are!