In today’s fast-paced world, where we confront not only the demands of daily life but also navigate global crises like the ongoing pandemic and economic uncertainty, stress and anxiety levels have reached unprecedented heights. To cope with the overwhelming challenges and personal stressors such as work demands and family responsibilities, many of us seek effective tools to promote relaxation and wellbeing. One such ancient and time-tested tool is breathwork, a set of powerful techniques that harness the potential of our breath.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), multiple stressors have impacted nearly 84% of adults, causing a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health[1]. Many studies, like these two conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR), have evidenced the stress-reducing benefits of breathwork[2]. Let’s explore ten effective breathwork techniques that can help you regain control over your stress and lead a more balanced life.

1. Box Breathing

Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a controlled breathwork technique utilized by various disciplines, including the military and mindfulness practices. With its structured pattern of equal-length breaths, this technique aids in regulating the body’s stress response and promoting a sense of calmness and focus.


  1. Find a quiet, comfortable space to sit or lie down.
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Exhale slowly and completely through your nose for a count of four.
  5. Pause and hold your breath for a count of four.
  6. Repeat this sequence for several cycles, concentrating on your breath and its rhythmic pattern.

2. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, has ancient origins, dating back to practices found in various cultures and spiritual disciplines. In traditional Chinese medicine and yoga, this technique was embraced for its ability to create a balance between mind, body, and spirit. By emphasizing deep breaths that fill the lower lungs, diaphragmatic breathing offers an effective way to alleviate stress and promote a sense of inner harmony.


  1. Sit or lie down in a relaxed position.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand while keeping your chest relatively still.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall.
  5. Continue this rhythmic breathing pattern for a few minutes, clearing your mind of any distractions.

3. Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing, known for its simplicity and effectiveness, can be traced back to ancient healing practices in Asia. Popular among meditation and mindfulness techniques, this method involves intentional control of the breath’s flow to induce a state of calmness and tranquility. By regulating the exhalation process, pursed lip breathing encourages relaxation and aids in stress reduction.


  1. Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  2. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
  3. Pucker your lips as if you’re about to blow out candles on a cake.
  4. Exhale slowly and evenly through pursed lips, taking twice as long as the inhalation.
  5. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes, allowing your body to unwind.

4. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing, an integral part of traditional yoga practices, finds its origins in ancient Indian culture. Referred to as “Nadi Shodhana” in Sanskrit, this technique aims to balance the flow of energy in the body, promoting mental clarity and relaxation. By engaging both nostrils separately, this breathwork exercise harmonizes the left and right hemispheres of the brain, alleviating stress and bringing a sense of balance.


  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
  2. Using your right thumb, close off your right nostril.
  3. Inhale deeply and slowly through your left nostril.
  4. Close your left nostril with your right ring finger and release the right nostril.
  5. Exhale through your right nostril.
  6. Inhale deeply and slowly through your right nostril.
  7. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and release the left nostril.
  8. Exhale through your left nostril.
  9. Repeat this cycle for several minutes, maintaining a steady rhythm.

5. Breath Focus Technique

The breath focus technique, also known as mindful breathing, has been embraced for centuries in various meditative practices across different cultures. Originating from ancient Eastern traditions, this technique involves honing in on the breath as a point of focus, allowing the mind to enter a state of mindfulness and heightened awareness. By centering attention on the breath, one can attain a sense of inner calmness and diminish stress.


  1. Sit or lie down in a quiet space.
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  3. Direct your attention to the sensation of your breath—observe the flow of air in and out of your body.
  4. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath.
  5. Continue this practice for a few minutes, enjoying the present moment.

6. Lion’s Breath

Lion’s breath, originating from yoga, is an invigorating technique that releases tension and helps alleviate stress. Rooted in the yogic philosophy of self-expression and liberation, this breathing exercise incorporates vocalization to stimulate the body’s relaxation response. With its bold and cathartic nature, lion’s breath aids in reducing anxiety and emotional stress.


  1. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and hands resting on your knees.
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose.
  3. Open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue as far as possible.
  4. Exhale forcefully while making a “ha” sound, like a lion’s roar.
  5. Repeat this process a few times, feeling the release of stress with each exhalation.

7. Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari)

Bhramari, known as humming bee breath, is a calming breathwork technique that involves making a soft humming sound. Rooted in ancient yogic practices, this technique is known for its ability to soothe the nervous system and reduce anxiety. By producing a resonating sound within the head and body, humming bee breath fosters relaxation and inner peace.


  1. Sit in a comfortable position, preferably with your eyes closed.
  2. Place your index fingers on your ears’ cartilage to block external noise.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose.
  4. Exhale slowly while making a humming sound, like a bee’s buzz.
  5. Feel the vibration and resonance within your head and body.
  6. Repeat this process for several rounds, experiencing inner serenity.

8. Equal Breathing

Equal breathing, also known as box breathing, has roots in ancient yogic practices and Zen meditation. Emphasizing rhythmic and balanced breaths, this technique focuses on equalizing the length of inhalation and exhalation to calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. By harmonizing the breath, equal breathing offers a powerful means of reducing stress and attaining mental clarity.


  1. Sit or lie down in a relaxed position.
  2. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, counting to four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Exhale gently and evenly through your nose for a count of four.
  5. Pause and hold your breath again for a count of four.
  6. Continue this pattern for several cycles, maintaining a steady rhythm.

9. Resonant or Coherent Breathing

Resonant breathing, also known as coherent breathing, finds its roots in ancient practices like pranayama from India and Taoist traditions from China. This technique involves regulating the breath to maintain a consistent rhythm, usually five to seven breaths per minute. By doing so, resonant breathing optimizes heart rate variability and induces a state of coherence, leading to reduced stress and enhanced wellbeing.


  1. Sit comfortably with your back straight.
  2. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly through your nose.
  3. Find a comfortable breaths-per-minute ratio (around 5-7 breaths per minute).
  4. Breathe in and out smoothly, maintaining the chosen breaths-per-minute ratio.
  5. Continue this coherent breathing for a few minutes, fostering relaxation.

10. Sitali Breath

Sitali breath, originating from yoga, has its roots in ancient Indian yogic practices. Known as the “cooling breath,” this technique involves inhaling through a rolled tongue or a slightly open mouth. Sitali breath is praised for its cooling and calming effects on the body, making it an excellent tool for stress reduction and relaxation.


  1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.
  2. Roll your tongue into a “U” shape, or if you can’t, create a small “O” shape with your mouth.
  3. Inhale slowly and deeply through your rolled tongue or mouth.
  4. Close your mouth and exhale gently and completely through your nose.
  5. Repeat this process for several breath cycles, experiencing a calming and cooling sensation.

Harness the Power of Science-Proven Breathwork to Reduce Stress

By incorporating breathwork techniques into your daily routine, you can effectively reduce stress and anxiety levels, paving the way for a more harmonious life. Remember, practicing breathwork consistently can bring long-lasting benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re looking to deepen your breathwork practice and experience its full potential, consider joining our next breathwork class. Embrace the power of your breath and unlock the path to a calmer and more balanced you.


  1. More than a quarter of U.S. adults say they’re so stressed they can’t function. Published 2022.
  2. Seppälä E, Bradley C, Goldstein MR. Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress. Harvard Business Review. Published September 29, 2020.