If you ever find yourself losing focus, your energy dwindling as the day goes on – it's not just a mental phenomenon; it's a physiological one too. The way we breathe profoundly influences our energy levels. So, let’s look into the science behind how specific respiratory techniques can combat fatigue, enhance focus, and provide a sustained energy boost.

1. The Wim Hof Method

You don't have to be a YouTube personality or an overachiever extreme outlet to enjoy and benefit from the Wim Hof Method. Also known as the Cyclic Hyperventilation, this practice can be your personal daily energy boot camp, even if you don't particularly enjoy ice baths. But for the daring, combining this hyperventilation technique with cold exposure can go a long way!


How to Do It:

  • Sit or lie down comfortably, ready to embark on a breath adventure.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs to capacity.
  • Exhale fully through your mouth, controlling the release.
  • Dive into cycles of intentional hyperventilation, followed by breath-holding and relaxation.
  • Start cautiously, and progress through the levels of intensity as you become more and more comfortable with this routine.

Why It Works:

Cyclic hyperventilation and breath-holding may sound like breath acrobatics, but their synergy activates the sympathetic nervous system, boosting energy, reducing stress, and even fine-tuning your immune response. Some of the evidence even suggests that this breathing technique upregulates endogenous DMT which could explain profound emotional states that sometimes can arise during Wim Hof Breathing.

Keep In Mind:

While the Wim Hof Method offers a wide host of benefits, a cautious approach is the key. Avoid practicing in environments where a loss of consciousness could pose risks, and if pre-existing health conditions are in the mix, consult a healthcare professional first. But most importantly, don’t attempt this while in the water, or anywhere near it! Keep your breathing exercises and cold water exposure separate for safety reasons.

Do It With An Oxa App:

Look for a Power Breathing II exercise. Don’t forget to exercise caution, especially if you're new to it. Begin with level 1 and gradually advance at your own pace.

2. Box Breathing

Box Breathing is the zen master of simplicity. Also referred to as square breathing, this technique works by distracting your monkey brain while you count up to four, calming down your nervous system, and decreasing overall stress in your body. This breathing method, embraced in high-stress environments like the military, is an invitation to the world of regulated breathing, lowered blood pressure, and a calm state of mind. It's like a mini-vacation for your brain.


How to Do It:

  • Find a comfortable spot, which can be your sanctuary for a few blissful moments.
  • Inhale quietly through your nose, counting to four.
  • Hold your breath, the quiet before the storm, also for a count of four.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, exhaling stress and inhaling tranquility.
  • Pause, hold, and do another count of four.
  • Start the cycle again

Why It Works:

This isn't just breathing; it's a full-spectrum exercise for stress reduction. Research reveals its prowess in reducing stress hormones, boosting problem-solving skills, and improving reaction times.

Do It With An Oxa App:

Look for a Box Breathing 4:4:4:4 exercise.

3. Breath Holds

Breathing is a cycle. On your journey to become more in sync with your breath and begin using it for your daily advantage, it’s important to connect both with breathing and its absence – gracefully and with full control. This technique, oscillating between stimulating and calming the nervous system, is your secret weapon for boosting your energy throughout the day.

How to Do It:

  • Find a quiet and safe space to immerse yourself in breath control.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your lungs.
  • Hold your breath for a set duration, starting with a comfortable timeframe.
  • Exhale slowly and completely, releasing the breath with intention.
  • Return to normal breathing for a brief intermission.
  • Encore! Repeat the process, gradually challenging your breath-holding prowess.

Why It Works:

When done with the correct technique, your body reacts to restricted breathing with a variety of complex responses that lead to improved energy levels and a calm mind state. Studies show that breath holds can activate relaxation responses and fine-tune your overall well-being.

Do It With An Oxa App:

Look for a Finding Comfort in Anxiety II exercise.

To wrap up, embracing mindfulness breathing for energy, offers a powerful toolkit to revitalize and sustain our energy throughout the day. These techniques not only enhance our physical wellbeing but also promote mental clarity and focus, making them indispensable in our daily quest for vitality and balance. Integrating these practices into your routine can transform the way you experience each day, turning moments of stress into opportunities for calm and every breath into a source of energy.

FAQ

Q: Can you do breathing exercises anywhere?

A: Absolutely, most exercises are versatile and adaptable to various settings. Whether you're at home, in the office, or outdoors, these techniques are designed to fit seamlessly into your routine. However, it's crucial to approach methods like the Wim Hof Method with caution, especially in environments where a loss of consciousness could be dangerous, and to always separate breathing techniques and water exposure for safety.

Q: Which breathing exercises are suitable for beginners?

A: Wim Hof breathing, box breathing, and breath holds offer variations suitable for beginners. The key is to start at your own pace and gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable. These exercises are designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their experience level with breathing techniques.

Q: Can I do breathing exercises if I have pre-existing health conditions?

A: While these techniques are generally safe for most individuals, it's crucial to exercise caution, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. If you have concerns or medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating these exercises into your routine. Your well-being is our top priority.

Incorporating these breathing exercises into your routine isn't just about inhaling and exhaling; it's about infusing your day with renewed vitality. By embracing these techniques, you can navigate the demands of your day with enhanced energy and focus. Ready to embark on a journey to revitalize your energy levels? Try these techniques today with Oxa’s live biofeedback and witness the transformative power of intentional breathing.

Angelina Sarycheva
Published:
May 28, 2024

MA, CPT accredited by The International Sports Science Association, is a health writer and Content Lead at Oxa Life. With over five years in the health and wellness industry, her expertise, rooted in hands-on experience with leading wellness brands, is to deliver impactful health content to a global audience.

Ready to begin?

Get the Oxa Sensor and your choice of garment - lounge-wear shirt, bra, or adjustable chest strap. Your purchase includes access to the Oxa app which gives personalized data summaries and insights, as well as access to breathing exercises to teach you how to harness the power of your own breath.