Breathwork For Energy: 3 Ways It Can Enhance Your Life

Practice
October 17, 2021

Breathwork for energy consists of mindful and conscious breathing techniques that focus on invigorating, conserving, and transforming energy within the body. In addition to positive effects on mood and self-esteem, scientific research has shown that regular breathwork practices can increase energy levels.

In this article, we explore the connection between breathwork and energy and go into great detail about the 3 major ways you can harness its power in your everyday life. We’ll also include step-by-step breathing exercises to increase, cultivate, and effectively conserve energy so you can create a proper and custom breathwork practice for your needs and lifestyle.

If you’re wanting to incorporate breathwork into your life for energy, this article will help you by explaining the following:

  • The connection between breathing and energy
  • Breathwork for energy: 4 breathing techniques to increase energy
  • Energy Breathwork: 4 breathing techniques to promote positive energy
  • Top 4 breathing techniques for energy conservation

Before looking at the 3 major ways you can apply breathwork for energy in your everyday life, it’s important first for you to understand the important connection between conscious breathing and energy.

The connection between breathing and energy

The relationship between breathwork and energy goes much deeper than many people think. Breathing is an automatic and often-overlooked natural body function that is the #1 necessity for keeping a person alive. In order to cultivate energy, humans must breathe oxygen into the lungs. Oxygen is the life force that fuels all human living processes. Once oxygen reaches the vital organs, cells convert it into energy and form carbon dioxide. When someone breathes out, they expel this carbon dioxide. 

These fundamentals of the respiratory system help explain why the quality of breath is directly linked to sustaining energy levels. With this knowledge, you can now understand how to manipulate your breath to benefit your overall well-being.

What causes lack of energy and shortness of breath?

Oxygen deficiency is a possible cause of lack of energy and shortness of breath. Shallow chest breathing is often associated with shortness of breath, which can lead to fatigue. Medical issues such as lung infections, asthma, heart problems, or anxiety can also cause low energy and shortness of breath.  

In many cases, breathwork techniques can help you combat symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, and lack of energy. 

Can you change your energy by breathing?

Yes, you can change your energy by breathing mindfully. Breathwork for energy exercises trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, slow down your heart rate, increase oxygenation, and improve your overall well-being. Energizing breathwork also circulates positive energy, improving your mood. 

How can you increase your energy by breathing?

There are many ways to increase your energy by breathing, like breathing to optimize oxygen flow. Remember, a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream can cause fatigue and a lack of energy. So deep and conscious breathwork exercises can be used to increase blood flow, which raises your oxygen levels and wakes up your body to restore its energy.

Breathwork for energy: 4 breathing techniques to increase energy

wo people breathing while lying on outdoor furniture

Breathwork routines, in general, have become significantly popular in recent years. And whether you’re waking your body up in the morning or getting out of an afternoon slump, breathing exercises to increase energy can be a powerful part of your everyday routine. Here are 4 breathing techniques to increase your energy and stamina.

1. Belly breathing: deep breathing for energy

Many in their day-to-day lives take shallow breaths through the chest without even realizing it. An easy and effective deep breathing technique known as “belly breathing” or “diaphragmatic breathing” encourages slowing down the breath and breathing deeper

This technique does activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with relaxation and calm. However, improving the depth and quality of the breath also allows more oxygen to reach organs and issues. This allows the body to create more energy. Belly breath for energy also increases blood flow, which can have an energizing effect.  

To practice this breathing technique, focus on inhaling from your belly first, allowing your stomach to expand and contract like a balloon. Slowly inhale for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 5. The more you practice this breathing technique, the longer you’ll be able to draw out inhales and exhales. As you take fuller and deeper breaths, you’ll expand your lung capacity.

Benefits

  • Increases stamina
  • Increases muscular strength
  • Builds endurance
  • Improves digestion

How to do it:

  • Close your eyes 
  • Gently place one hand on your lower belly and one hand on your chest
  • Slowly breathe in through your nose 
  • Imagine that you are breathing into your stomach rather than your chest, feeling your belly expand into your hand
  • Once your lungs feel full, exhale fully by allowing the lower belly to move inwards towards your spine 
  • Repeat as needed

Try it now: Learn more about belly breathing here.

2. Nostril breathing for energy

Right nostril breathing, or pingala nadi, can bring energy into the body. It is believed that when a person breathes through the right nostril, it activates the left hemisphere of the brain. Because the left part of the brain is connected to the sympathetic nervous system, right nostril breathing is said to have an energizing effect. 

Benefits

  • Stimulates energy
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Improves vitality
  • Improves strength

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably
  • With the ring finger of your right hand, gently close your left nostril 
  • Breathe in slowly through your right nostril 
  • Breathe out slowly through your right nostril
  • Repeat 9 times

Try it now: Practice with this guided instruction on pingala nadi.


3. Breath of fire: yoga breathing exercise for energy

Breathwork, or pranayama, is an important component of all yoga practices and styles. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga in Patajali’s Yoga Sutras, a foundational yoga text. It’s no surprise, then, that yoga traditions contain a wealth of breathwork techniques for energy that are used as a way to enhance the yoga practitioner’s practice.

Breath of fire is a popular form of breathwork practiced mainly in Kundalini yoga, but also used in Vinyasa yoga styles too. It is an intense form of breathing that is best recommended for advanced breathwork practitioners and those that are in good physical health. Breath of fire involves quick and active inhales and exhales, typically through the nose. Because of the intensity and strenuous nature of this breathing technique, it should be avoided by people with cardiac problems, spinal disorders, or respiratory infections. Pregnant women should also not attempt it. 

Benefits

  • Energizes body and mind 
  • Increases concentration
  • Improves digestion
  • Strengthens abdominals
  • Builds heat
  • Detoxifies   

How to do it:

  • Sit with a long spine and your palms resting on your knees 
  • Gently connect your thumb and index finger (this is ‘palm mudra’)
  • Relax your face and shoulders
  • Breathe in and allow your belly to expand 
  • Breathe out and allow your belly to contract
  • Repeat quickly, panting like a dog with short and quick inhales and exhales
  • The inhale is passive and the exhale is powerful 
  • As you become more familiar with this style, you can try advancing it by focusing on snapping the belly button back toward the spine

Try it now: Watch this guided video on breath of fire.

4. Double breathing for energy

This breathwork technique is a breathing exercise for instant energy, quickly activating the sympathetic nervous system. If you’re feeling sleepy and unfocused, try using this rapid breathing technique that focuses on igniting the breath with short bursts of air.

Benefits

  • Increase awareness and focus
  • Awakens the body and mind
  • Moves stuck energy 

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your eyes closed
  • Breathe in through your nose with a short and then a long inhalation
  • Breathe out through your mouth with a short and then a long exhalation, keeping your nose relaxed and open
  • Repeat as necessary  
  • Allow yourself to pause after doing the breath to experience the benefits and and energy

Try it now: Follow this double breathing exercise.

Energy breathwork: 4 breathing exercises for positive energy

A group standing in a circle with their arms in the air

Breathwork can generate and circulate positive energy throughout the body easily and effectively. Scientific research has shown the positive impact that breathwork can have on psychological well-being. Prana (in Hinduism) or qi (in Taoism) is considered a vital life force that plays an important role in regulating mood. 

One study by Yale University found that students saw increases in mindfulness, positivity, and social connectedness – along with decreases in stress and feelings of depression – after participating in a yoga and breathwork program.

1. Victorious breath: ujjayi pranayama for positive energy

This type of energizing breathwork is one of the most common breathwork techniques taught in yoga. One study from 2017 found individuals experiencing major depressive disorder saw a decrease in symptoms after practicing ujjayi pranayama breathing techniques. 

This breathwork technique is sometimes known as “ocean breathing” because of the gentle, ocean-like sound made on the exhale. This type of breathwork exercise can feel a little strange — but becomes intuitive and easier with practice. 

Benefits

  • Clears and calms the mind
  • Improves concentration
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Releases tension 

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with eyes closed or a gentle gaze  
  • Gently constrict your throat so you hear a soft snoring sound when you breathe
  • Breathe in and out through your nose for equal durations, focusing mainly on the inhale

Try it now: Watch this ujjayi breathing tutorial

2. Humming bee breath for positive energy

Humming bee breath, or the Bhramari breathing technique, is a type of short meditation said to clear the mind. When practicing humming bee breath, you’ll make a gentle humming sound when you exhale, which can resemble the sound of a bumble bee. This type of breathing exercise for positive energy is especially useful for anyone experiencing anxiety, anger, frustration, or doubt.

Benefits

  • Clears the mind and promotes clarity
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Raises vibrations

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably, with a long spine, on the floor or a chair
  • Close your eyes and relax your face muscles
  • Take your thumbs and gently press the tragus (the cartilage on the side) of your ears to gently block the ear canals
  • Inhale deeply and fully
  • Exhale and simultaneously make a low-medium pitched humming sound
  • Pay attention to the vibrations you create
  • Repeat as many rounds as you’d like

Try it now: Watch this guided video on humming bee breath.


3. 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is sometimes also called the “relaxing breath” because of its relaxation properties. It helps with controlling cravings and regulating emotional responses like anger and frustration. This breathwork technique is done by breathing in for 4 counts, holding the breath for 7 counts, and exhaling for 8 counts. 

Benefits

  • Control emotional responses like anger and frustration
  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Improves concentration
  • Controls cravings

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight
  • Gently place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth
  • Keeping your tongue in place, exhale completely through your mouth. You should make a ‘whoosh’ sound
  • Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose for the count of 4
  • Hold your breath and count to 7
  • Breathe out completely through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’ sound for the count of 8
  • Repeat as needed

Try it now: Watch this video on 4-7-8 breathing technique.


4. Sitali breathing technique for positive energy

Sitali breath is sometimes known as the “serpent breath” because of the sucking sensation made when breathing with a curled tongue. This type of breathwork technique is practiced in Kundalini yoga and helps calm the nervous system by eliminating excess heat, frustration, anger, and anxiousness in the body.

Benefits

  • Calms nervous system
  • Reduce agitation and anger
  • Improves focus and energy
  • Cools down the body

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with a straight spine and tall back
  • Curl your tongue inwards, creating a tunnel (if you cannot curl your tongue, simply letting your tongue hang outside of your mouth will create the same effect)
  • Breathe in deeply through this tunnel, as if sucking air through a straw 
  • Feel the cool air enter your mouth, throat, and body
  • Breathe out deeply through your mouth
    Try it now: Practice with this sitali breathwork guided video.

Top 4 breathing techniques for energy conservation

A woman relaxing in a sauna

Breathwork for energy techniques that focus on energy conservation can be helpful for anyone who is undergoing strenuous activity, or who simply wants to not unnecessarily expend too much energy. Studies have shown numerous health benefits from practicing these energy-saving breathwork styles. Here are 4 of the most popular breathwork techniques for conserving energy.

1. Pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing is a type of breathing exercise that physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists recommend to patients who are experiencing shortness of breath. It promotes lung rehabilitation by removing stale air trapped inside the lungs and welcoming in new fresh air.

Benefits

  • Promotes lung rehabilitation
  • Improves oxygenation levels
  • Helps physical endurance


How to do it:

  • Gently relax your neck and shoulders
  • Keep your mouth closed, slowly breathe in through your nose for the count of 2
  • Avoid taking too deep of a breath; normal is fine
  • Purse your lips as if you were about to blow out candles on a birthday cake
  • Slowly breathe out through your pursed lips while counting to 4 
  • Repeat as necessary 

Try it now: Watch this guided video.


2. Coordinated breathing

If you feel shortness of breath when doing any type of physical movement, try this simple breathing technique. While similar to pursed lip breathing, coordinated breathing requires you to time your exhale to match the moments of physical exertion or exercise. This helps to keep you from experiencing shortness of breath.

Benefits

  • Promotes increased oxygen levels 
  • Prevents fatigue 
  • Conserves energy

How to do it:

  • Inhale through your nose at a normal speed
  • Purse your lips as if you were about to blow out a candle
  • Breathe out through your pursed lips at the same time you perform the most strenuous part of your activity  

Try it now: Watch this coordinated breathing technique video.

3. Longevity breathing 

Based on Taoist breathwork methods, this type of breathing technique helps you return to a state that is harmonious with nature. Instead of a type of breathing that focuses on inhales and exhales, you create a circular and gentle breath. It’s the basis for all Taoist Qigong or Tai Chi practices.

Benefits

  • Conserves energy 
  • Revitalizes internal organs
  • Promotes calm 


How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably, allowing the tip of your tongue to gently touch the roof of your mouth 
  • Breathe in through your nose at about a 70% capacity, paying attention to the breath
  • Breathe out gently through your nose 
  • Don’t hold your breath in between cycles; keep the breath and energy moving

Try it now: Watch this guided video on longevity breathing


4. Buteyko Breathing

Created by a Ukrainian doctor named Konstantin Buteyko, this exercise helps to control the speed and volume of the breath. Read more about the Buteyko breathing method here

Benefits

  • Improves asthma
  • Helps insomnia
  • Counters anxiety 

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably, with a straight spine and back, on the floor or in a chair 
  • Breathe through the nose gently and quietly, starting to slow the breath 
  • Continue to slow down your breath until you feel a slight air shortage
  • Instead of taking deeper breaths, maintain the light breaths
  • Continue for one minute, being mindful of your breath 

Try it now: Follow this Buteyko breath guided video.


If you’re ready to start exploring how breathwork can improve your energy levels, the first step is to incorporate breathing exercises for energy into your everyday life. Explore our class styles offered on the Othership app.