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Breathing Techniques for Awareness, Energy, & Relaxation

  • 5 min read
By: Kalena Shoman
How many times a day do you find yourself overwhelmed from either sitting in an office with 10 tabs open, trying to finish three things at once to dealing with 5 wonderful, screaming children as you try to maintain a healthy household? There are so many variables in life that require the most from us, so we have all found different ways to get us through these demanding times. Whether it be an energy drink to speed us up, or a cup of tea to calm us down. But what if I told you that by focusing on your breathing, you can quickly change your mental/physical state? 
Tucson local rock climber, Adrea Richmond, gave me some great tips on how to gain control over your present moment with just 3 simple techniques.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Let’s start with Conscious Breathing or "Belly Breathing"
 Most of us primarily use reverse breathing on a normal basis. As we inhale our stomach shrinks, when it should be expanding. This can affect our nervous system, blood pressure and energy levels making it more difficult to exercise, causing painful shoulder and neck issues, as well as becoming more susceptible to chronic injuries.                                                                         
 “It actually took me a few months to train myself to breathe correctly,” Adrea claims. So don’t get too frustrated when learning these techniques as the adverse performance is learned at a very young age.                                                                                                          
 Take a moment to read through the next paragraph, and visualize it as you read. Once you understand the practice, give it a try, allowing yourself to mess up several times before you actually feel the difference. 
  • To begin, first, focus on a stable sitting posture. Assure that your spine is straight and that your rib cage is slightly lifted, with your shoulders resting comfortably at your side. Soften your facial muscles and interlace your hands into your lap or hands rested on your knees, palms up towards the sky.
  • Inhale through your nose, and as you do, notice the base of the stomach expanding. As you continue to breathe in, it will proceed to the top of the stomach, up to the center of your chest. 
  • Once your chest begins to rise, close your eyes and focus as the air climbs up through your throat to the top of your head. Then reverse this process as you slowly exhale.
  • Repeat this process as often as you can, for as long as you can to gain muscle memory. 
 When using this technique, you increase oxygen intake which will benefit your body in many aspects. You brain, heart and muscles all depend upon a healthy amount of oxygen to achieve top performance.
                                                                                                                                                              The next technique is called Kapalabhati.
Adrea uses this technique in the morning to help wake up. It increases your heart rate and warms your body right up. This is a great breathing exercise to rid  your lungs of stale air. 
  • Again, check  your posture and sitting position.This breathing technique is a continuous active exhalation followed by passive inhalation.
  • As you exhale, your stomach should abruptly squeeze or contract all of the air out very quickly several times (10-20). 
  • The inhale will happen automatically, it’s an involuntary response to the atmospheric pressures of the earth.  As you breathe, the abdomen should be the only thing you're actively moving in your body. 
  • Try to focus your entire energy on the forceful exhalation, but remember to not rush yourself.
 Kapalabhati aka shining skull breath has many benefits for the body other than a quick spurt of energy. This technique also strengthens the heart and lungs, oxidizes your blood, purifies your liver, and strengthens the nervous system. 
         The final technique that we’ll go over today is called Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing).

This technique is great for calming your mind and body and preparing yourself for a good night’s sleep. Adrea uses this technique to connect her pranayama breathing routines together, balance the left and right brain hemispheres, and calm down before bed. 

  •  To begin, figure out which nostril is more open. Let’s say it’s your left.
  • Close your right nostril and breathe in through your left, then hold your breath as you switch sides, exhaling from your right. 
  • You’ll begin the process again by, now, breathing in through your right nostril and exhaling from your left. 
  • That is considered one round. What you do to one side of the body should then be done on the other.


    I hope that we've provided you some helpful tips on ways to control your breathing that you can use in your day-to-day life. If you have any questions, tips to add, or would like to be interviewed for a blog post please email me at  

    Stay tuned for more from #TeamRBar :)


    “While attending a yoga session at your favorite studio, you may hear the teacher prompt you to move with your breath, but what does that mean? Think of when you bend down to pick something up. Exhale when you go down and inhale as you stand back up towards the sky." 

      "When rock climbing, there have been times when I tell my friends that I need a "moment". I’ll get in a good stance, soften my grip, to just stand there and let go of the world around me. This is that moment what every climber is infatuated with. It is the present moment. I take a deep breath in, take a step, exhale, move up, and then do it again.” 

      "When we give ourselves time to breathe, we give ourselves time to feel. Put your body and mind in balance and you may have a better response to stress, no matter it physical or emotional stress."

    Shoman K. (2016, October 25) Personal Interview with Adrea R.