​As winter descends, bringing with it the cold air and short days, many of us find ourselves seeking warmth and energy to combat the chill. While cosy blankets and hot cups of tea are excellent for comfort, there’s a powerful and often overlooked tool that can help warm and invigorate the body: breathwork. By harnessing the power of intentional breathing, you can generate heat and boost energy levels.

Understanding Breathwork

Breathwork refers to breathing exercises and techniques that are used to influence physical, mental and emotional states. These practices have been used for centuries in different cultures and are integral to many spiritual and wellness traditions, including yoga and meditation. Breathwork can help regulate the autonomic nervous system, reduce stress, improve focus and increase energy levels.

Warming Breath Techniques

Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath)

Kapalabhati is a powerful, energising breath that generates heat and clears the mind. It involves short, forceful exhalations followed by passive inhalations. Here’s how to practice Kapalabhati:

  • Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
  • Take a deep breath in and then exhale sharply through your nose while pulling your navel in towards your spine.
  • Allow the inhalation to be passive, focusing on the forceful exhalation.
  • Continue this rhythm for 20-30 breaths, then take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds before exhaling slowly.

Practicing Kapalabhati for a few minutes can leave you feeling warm, energised and mentally clear.

Bhastrika (Bellows Breath)
Bhastrika is another heating breath technique that involves rapid inhalations and exhalations. This breath stimulates the body, increases oxygen flow and generates internal heat.

  • Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs completely.
  • Exhale forcefully through your nose, expelling all the air.
  • Continue this rapid inhalation and exhalation rhythmically for about 10-20 breaths.
  • After completing the cycle, take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale slowly.

Bhastrika can be particularly invigorating, helping to shake off lethargy and warm the body.

Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)
Ujjayi breath, also known as ocean breath, involves a slight constriction at the back of the throat, creating a soothing sound as you breathe. This breath technique is both calming and energising.

  • Sit comfortably and take a deep breath in through your nose.
  • Slightly constrict the back of your throat as you exhale, creating a gentle “ha” sound.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose again, maintaining the constriction in your throat.
  • Continue this slow, rhythmic breathing for several minutes.

Ujjayi breath can enhance focus, increase vitality and provide a sense of inner warmth.

Incorporating breathwork into your daily routine can be a transformative practice, especially during the colder months. These techniques not only help to warm and energise the body but also promote mental clarity, emotional balance and overall well being. As you embrace the power of intentional breathing, you’ll find yourself better equipped to face the winter season with vigour and vitality. So, take a deep breath, feel the warmth spread through your body and let the energy of breathwork revitalise your winter days.