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10 Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief | Western Wellness

Published 9-Nov-2022
Written by Danielle Harrison

10 Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief


 For such a simple thing, breathing can have a big impact on your overall mental health. How you breathe can affect your blood pressure, heart rate and nervous system. Starting your day off with 5 minutes of simple breathing exercises can help you face the day with a more positive mindset and lower stress and anxiety levels.

 Here are 10 breathing techniques that help with stress relief.

1)    Box Breathing (Four-Square Breathing)


This breathing technique helps focus both your mind and body and is best done while visualising a square box.


●      Inhale deeply through your nose for 4 seconds

●      Hold your breath for 4 seconds

●      Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds

●      Hold the air in your lungs for 4 seconds

●      Exhale and repeat


2)    Belly Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing)


Belly breathing for 20-30 minutes a day can help reduce stress and anxiety.


●      Lie down in a quiet place

●      Place a hand on your upper chest and your other hand on your stomach

●      Relax your stomach

●      Breathe in slowly through your nose and focus on your stomach rising and falling

●      Exhale through slightly pursed lips. The hand on your chest should remain still


3)    Lion’s Breath (Lion’s Pose/Simhasana)


This is a yoga breathing practice that helps to relieve the tension in your face and chest.


●      Sit down in a comfortable position

●      Press your hands against your knees with your fingers spread wide

●      Open your mouth and stick out your tongue

●      Exhale forcefully by making a long “ha” sound

●      Look towards the space between your eyebrows or the tip of your nose

●      Repeat 3-7 times


4)    Resonance Breathing (Coherent Breathing)


Resonance breathing has a calming effect and reduces anxiety.


●      Sit or lie down in a quiet space

●      Gently breathe in through your nose with your mouth closed for 6 seconds

●      Exhale for 6 seconds, letting the breath leave your body slowly and gently

●      Repeat for about 5-10 minutes

●      Focus on how your body feels


5)    4-7-8 Breathing


This breathing technique can calm a racing mind and help breathing become more regular, relaxing the body.


●      Sit in a comfortable position

●      Exhale out of your mouth making a “whoosh” sound

●      Inhale through your mouth while counting to 4

●      Hold your breath for 7 seconds

●      Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds

6)    Pursed-Lip Breathing


This simple breathing technique helps to make deep breathing easier and more impactful. It also grounds you in the present.


●      Sit in a comfortable position and relax your neck and shoulders

●      With your mouth closed, inhale through your nose for 2 seconds

●      Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds

●      Pucker or purse your lips and breath out for 4 seconds


7)    Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)


This breathing technique is a common practice of yoga. It helps to even out your breathing, lowers your heart rate and reduces stress.


●      Sit in a comfortable position

●      Take a deep breath

●      Close your right nostril with your thumb

●      Inhale through your left nostril

●      Close off your left nostril with your ring finger

●      Open and exhale through your right nostril

●      Inhale through your right nostril

●      Cover your right nostril with your thumb

●      Open and exhale through your left nostril

●      Inhale through your left nostril

●      Repeat for 5-10 rounds


8)    Equal Breathing (Sama Vritti)


Equal breathing steadies your breath and can help balance your emotions and stress levels.


●      Sit in a quiet place

●      Breathe in and out through your nose

●      Either count or repeat a word while inhaling and exhaling to make sure each is even in duration

●      Pause after each breath

●      Repeat this for about 5 minutes


9)    Mindfulness Breathing


Mindfulness is a key aspect of treating anxiety and depression. It involves focusing your attention on the present without letting your mind think about the past or future. Mindfulness breathing has the same purpose.


●      Find a quiet place

●      Focus on something like a positive word/phrase or sound

●      Inhale and exhale as you focus on the word/phrase or sound

●      Focus on the feel of your body as you inhale and exhale

●      Make sure that your mind is focused on the present

●      Repeat for as long as needed


10)                    Finger Breathing


This breathing technique is especially helpful for people who find it hard to shift their thoughts and struggle with being present in the moment.


●      Sit in a comfortable position

●      Place your left hand on your lap (facing palm up)

●      Breathe in and trace your thumb with your right hand

●      Breathe out and trace your thumb in a downward position

●      Repeat the steps with all 5 fingers and until you feel calmer

Western Wellness teacher breathwork as part of our Yoga & Mediation Class - please reach out to us to commence your practice. www.westernwellness.com.au


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