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Cloud gazing - 3 simple breathing exercises

Deep breathing can be enormously beneficial to our mental wellbeing. It's why we have a whole box - the DEEP BREATHE BOX - dedicated to it. Deep breathing has a positive impact on stress, depression, positive affect, mood and social connectedness. Deep breathing while watching the clouds go by is a perfect way to achieve these benefits.

Gazing at the clouds is an excellent way to observe nature, relieve stress, free your imagination, and be more mindful! Clouds are everywhere and they are constantly changing which gives you plenty of opportunities to watch them in detail. You can watch them from the park, your backyard, a bus stop or even from window at your home or work.

Using breathing exercise whilst watching the clouds is an active form of meditation that allows us to disconnect from the mind and be guided by our body and heart. As we breathe out thoughts, beliefs, memories, actions that do not support our growth, we return to our wholeness and feel more equipped to handle stress, anxiety, and lingering trauma.

There are many different breathwork techniques, and each one has a unique purpose and effect on the body. Here are three techniques - set aside 10 minutes to sit & watch the clouds, and find and calm and focus on a busy day.

When you feel overwhelmed: The 4-7-8 breath.

The Relaxing Breath also known as 4-7-8 breathing, helps to slow down and calm the body. It slows the heart rate, brings our consciousness to the present moment, and slows the nervous system, bringing a feeling of calm and peace. This breath is ideal when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry, triggered, and have trouble sleeping.

The traditional way of doing 4-7-8 breathing is to empty the lungs of air, breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, exhale out of the mouth for 8 seconds, and repeat at least 4 times.

As you breathe in, imagine the grounded and nourishing energy of the earth coming up into your body. As you hold your breath, visualize the breath spiraling up the center of your body, then as you exhale over 8 seconds, imagine that excess energy releasing out of the mouth.

When you need an energy boost: The 4-4-4-4 breath.

Box Breathing comes through the Navy SEAL lineage and is also known as Square breathing, or 4-4-4-4 breath. This breathwork technique slows the heart rate and deepens concentration. It heightens efficiency and performance, as well as provides stress relief. It's best to use in the morning to wake up, in the middle of the day if sleepy, or before a big project or meeting that requires your focus.

To practice this technique, start by releasing all of the air from your chest, and hold your breath for 4 seconds, then breathe through the nose for 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 4 seconds, then exhale out of the nose for 4 seconds. Repeat this cycle for 5 minutes to feel the effects.

When you feel yourself getting worked up: The 5-5 breath.

To start, focus on the natural rhythm of your breath to obtain a baseline length of each inhale and exhale. Then for 1 minute, breathe in for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds. Then repeat for 5 seconds, then repeat for 6 seconds, and if you want to, gradually expand to 10 seconds. Start with 5 minutes total and work your way up over time to 10 minutes.

Breathing in this way can change how you’re feeling. As well as calming & settling your mind and mood, it can have other benefits such as reducing stress, reducing inflammation, improving muscle tone, and alkalizing your blood PH levels. Give it a go & see how you feel ♥♥♥

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