When we’re looking to get a boost in the morning or throughout our day, coffee and energy drinks may be the go-to before we consider breathing exercises. Because caffeinated drinks can be hard on your kidneys and adrenal glands, a natural alternative should be considered.

A few factors come into play when we choose solutions for fatigue. The top concern is often time. What can we do quickly to boost energy levels that doesn’t take us away from whatever task we are currently working on?

Breathing exercises offer an easily accessible solution to energy slumps. Stress and poor cardiovascular health contribute to low energy levels. One of the reasons athletes abound in energy is due to frequent exercise that increases stamina, improves heart health, and lowers stress.

Let’s take a look at ten breathing exercises that can give you more energy. Each exercise can be done in ten minutes or less. There are enough options that you’ll have no issue finding the best breathing exercise for you. Whether you’re at home, commuting, or work, you can use these steps to invigorate your day.

1 Alternate Nostril Breathing

Also known by its ancient San Skrit name Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing involves breathing in using both nostrils and alternating nostrils on the exhale. A six-week study of participants using alternate nostril breathing revealed a significant improvement in heart rate and blood pressure.

How To:

  • Find a comfortable seat.
  • Rest your left palm on your lap or knee.
  • Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths through both nostrils.
  • With your thumb close the right nostril and inhale through the opposite nostril slowly.
  • With your ring finger close the left nostril and hold for one second.
  • Remove your thumb from your right nostril and exhale, breathing through the right nostril.
  • Inhale slowly through the right nostril.
  • Hold both nostrils closed for one second again.
  • Remove your ring finger from the left nostril and exhale.
  • Repeat this cycle up to ten times.

2 Relaxing Breath

Relaxing Breath, or 4-7-8 Breathing, is the best breathing exercise for those looking for something fast and simple. Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, this technique involves breathing in for a set amount of time, holding that breath, then releasing with control exhaling.

How To:

  • Sit up straight in comfortable seating.
  • Fully exhale through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four.
  • Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  • Lastly, exhale through your mouth for a count of eight seconds.

3 Pursed Lip Breathing

This technique not only increases oxygen intake but also is helpful with slowing down breathing for those experiencing an asthma attack. Just as the name suggests, pursed lip breathing involves exhaling through pursed lips to promote deep breathing.

How To:

  • Can be done in any position.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Exhale through your mouth as you purse your lips as if you’re blowing out a candle.
  • Repeat this cycle for up to ten minutes.

4 Laughter Yoga

You may be surprised to read that laughter is one of the best breathing exercises. Laughter yoga, or Hasyayoga, involves prolonged voluntary laughter to receive the same benefits as spontaneous laughter.

A 2012 study showed that this breathing exercise can improve mood as well as heart rate variability. We will look at one of the ways you can perform this exercise.

How To:

  • Warm up by standing while pushing your hands down and saying ‘ho ho’.
  • Next, push your hands forward from your chest and say ‘haha’.
  • Increase speed until you have a rhythmic chant (You can clap instead of using the arm movements).
  • Raise your arms above your head.
  • Inhale and hold for three to five seconds.
  • Bend from the waist, relaxing your arms.
  • Exhale and laugh or say ‘haha’ to induce laughing.
  • Repeat for five to ten minutes.

5 Humming Bee Breath

A breathing exercise traditionally practiced by yogis, humming bee breath is also known as Bhramari Pranayama. The benefits include improving memory and concentration and relieving tension and anxiety which can give you a boost in energy levels.

How To:

  • Sit straight in a comfortable seat.
  • Relax your face and close your eyes.
  • Inhale through your nose.
  • Exhale while making a humming sound like a bee (the sound of the letter M).
  • Keep making the sound until your next inhale through your nose.
  • Repeat the cycle for several minutes.

6 Breath Counting

Breath counting is a form of meditation that involves mindfully counting each breath in order to improve concentration and settle the mind. Unlike the other breathing exercises mentioned, this technique doesn’t require you to breathe at a certain pace or position.

How To:

  • Start from any comfortable position.
  • Inhale through your mouth or nose.
  • Exhale and say ‘one’ or count quietly.
  • Upon each exhale continue to count, going no higher than five.
  • Once you reach five begin counting from one again.
  • Repeat this cycle for up to ten minutes.

7 Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing also called abdominal or deep breathing, involves contracting the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle at the base of the lungs. This technique is used in many of the yogi breathing exercises. This is the best breathing exercise to strengthen the diaphragm, which means you’ll need less energy to breathe.

How To:

  • Lie on a flat surface with knees bent.
  • Place one hand on your stomach just below rib cage and the other hand on your upper chest.
  • Inhale through your nose deeply, inflating your stomach.
  • Focus on keeping the hand on your chest still as you inhale.
  • Exhale through pursed lips, tightening your stomach muscles and drawing inward.
  • Repeat this cycle for five to ten minutes.

8 Skull Shining Breath

If you’re looking for the best breathing exercise to give you an energy boost, this advanced technique should not be overlooked. Skull Shining breath, or Kapalabhati Pranayama, improves circulation which will energize your total body. Like other yogi breathing exercises, this technique can improve concentration and help alleviate stress.

How To:

  • Sit upright in a comfortable seat.
  • Rest your hands on your stomach.
  • Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling from the mouth.
  • Quickly and forcefully expel all the air from your lungs while drawing your navel in towards the spine.
  • Take a regular relaxed breath, allowing your stomach to expand naturally.
  • Repeat this cycle for five to ten minutes.

9 Conquer Breath

Ujjayi Pranayama, also known as Victorious Breath or Conquer Breath, is a yoga breathing technique that helps to regulate blood pressure and boost energy by increasing oxygen. This exercise can be a little tricky for beginners because it involves contracting the throat to control air flow.

How To:

  • Find a comfortable seat, sitting upright with relaxed shoulders.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Inhale through the nose while gently contracting the back of your throat (this makes a soft snoring sounding).
  • Exhale slowly through the nose while keeping your throat contracted.
  • Repeat this cycle for several minutes.

breathing exercises

10 Three-Part Breath

The last of our breathing exercises is the Three-Part Breath, also known as Dirga Pranayama. This is the best breathing exercise for those who are not in tune with the different ways their body can move breath. It focuses breath first in the diaphragm, then the abdomen, and lastly the chest to increase oxygen in the blood and stimulate the body.

How To:

  • Sit up straight in a comfortable seat.
  • Relax your shoulders.
  • Place one hand over your stomach and inhale deeply, feeling your stomach rise as it inflates.
  • Exhale and feel your stomach deflate.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Now move your hand higher to your rib cage.
  • Inhale and feel your rib cage expand, exhale and feel it deflate.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Finally place your hand on your chest, just at the collarbone and inhale feeling it rise.
  • Exhale and feel your collarbone lowering.
  • Repeat five times.

Final Thoughts 

At first, you may have thought that breathing exercises would not give you the results you desired. Multiple studies show these exercises can improve blood pressure, concentration, stress tolerance, oxygen levels, and so much more.

Now that you see that adopting a breathing exercise can be beneficial to your energy levels, start a breathing exercise practice today. Try a few of the techniques listed until you find the best breathing exercise that fits your needs.