Finding Your Chill With Breathwork & Meditation

By Jessica Hamlin

“Just breathe.” “Take a breath.” You may have heard these phrases before as advice (maybe even to yourself) for calming down when you’re stressed or not feeling well.

But breathing helps us stay alive by feeding our body and mind the oxygen they need and exhaling waste via carbon dioxide. And breathing can also help regulate our mood and stress level.

Sarah Croce teaches breathwork, pilates, yoga and meditation in Los Angeles and has tips and exercises to help you get what you need through breathing and mindfulness.

The great thing about breathing is that it’s simple and we only need what we have with us--our breath. We don’t need a special space or equipment for breathing exercises, Croce says.

You can use your breath anytime and anywhere to be present in the moment, relieve stress, get energized or get a sense of balance. Holding a breath in helps with energizing, while holding a breath out helps with calming.

While you’re breathing you can also meditate by focusing on your breath and letting thoughts come and go.

“You can’t do meditation,” Croce says. “It just occurs. There’s not much to plan [so] get out of your own way.”

Here are some of Croce’s simple hacks to help you breathe your way out of a funk at home, work, in the car or wherever you are.

For Balance:

  1. Inhale 5 counts
  2. Hold breath in 5 counts
  3. Exhale 5 counts
  4. Hold breath out 5 counts
  5. Repeat

For Energy:

  1. Inhale 5 counts
  2. Hold breath in 5 counts
  3. Exhale 5 counts
  4. Repeat

To Relax:

  1. Inhale 5 counts
  2. Exhale 5 counts
  3. Hold breath out 5 counts
  4. Repeat

For Digestion:

  1. Inhale and let your belly hang out
  2. Exhale and draw your belly in
  3. (Cough with hand on belly to experience sensation of abdominal drawing in as you expel your breath--use this breath during core work!)

To decrease anxiety, make some noise (for the first three, you’ll want to be in a place where you won’t disturb anyone).

Lion’s Breath: Exhale through your mouth with your tongue out and eyes up

Horse Breath: Flutter your lips on exhale

Giant Sigh: Can also say ‘OM’

Ujjayi Breath: This is the typical yoga breath. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose. When you exhale imagine you are trying to fog up a glass but with your mouth closed. You can do this quieter breath while sitting at a desk or steering wheel or during exercise like yoga.

The Feel Good Series is a series of community workshops presented by Savoir Collab and Do The Good Stuff offering IRL toolkits for owning how you feel and redefining what it means to take care. In our first workshop, The No Bullsh*t Guide to Finding Your Chill, we’re challenging the “stressed out” story with help from the experts and walking away with real solutions for managing stress and feeling good. We’re stressed, we get it. Now what?