Establishing a morning breathing practice is a quick and potent way to boost your health and prepare for a successful day. By adding a few minutes of pranayama (focusing on the breath) to your morning routine, you can feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized to tackle whatever comes and you’ll get more done throughout the day. Here are some different breathing techniques to start your day with...

What is a morning breathing practice?

Morning breathing is a mindful and conscious practice of one or more breath based exercises for a few minutes in the morning. These are usually practiced in a seated position, but you can practice them lying in bed or standing.

Diaphragm Breath

If you are new to pranayama, it is recommended that you start with 2-5 minutes of Diaphragm Breath, also known as belly breathing. Chest breathing and shallow breathing often contribute to anxiety and stress in the body. When we are nervous or anxious, our heart rate increases, blood pumps more quickly through the arteries, and oxygen levels decrease. This causes us to breathe faster than normal and take shorter breaths. This can create shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and muscle tension. You’re more likely to breathe from your chest during stressful times, especially if you’ve been feeling stressed lately. Diaphragm Breath is the foundational breathing exercise for beginners to learn and practice. As the belly will rise and fall while the chest remains still when taking slow deep breaths. This meditative abdominal breathing exercise reduces stress, promotes relaxation, and increases lung capacity and efficiency.

Ocean Sounding Breath

Also known as the Ujayi Breath - which we encourage during a lot of our yoga classes. During Ujayi Pranayama you constrict the back of the throat to create the sound of the Ocean or make a “Darth Vader” voice. This naturally slows down the breath, which calms the nervous system. It is also warming and energizing to the body. The practice is done slowly and deeply, without any strain. Ujjayi breathing helps release feelings of irritation and frustration, and boosts a sense of presence and self-awareness.

Morning Breathing Tips

  • Make sure you are seated in a comfortable position for the practice.
  • If you feel dizzy or experience any discomfort, stop and sit quietly until you feel better.
  • Don’t force anything; take things at your own pace and ability.
  • Try to keep your eyes closed during pranayama.
  • Focus only on your breath moving into and out of your lungs.
  • Make sure you have enough sleep. Even the most energizing pranayama cannot compensate for sleep deprivation.
  • If you are new to pranayama, start small. Start with 2-5 minutes and then slowly and gradually work up to 10–15 minutes per session.
  • For the best results, combine your pranayama practice with a morning yoga session.
  • Be patient. You should notice some results after a few days, but it could take you weeks, months, or even years before you see progress. The most important thing is to keep practicing on a daily basis.
  • If you’re new to pranayama and have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before starting.