Air & Water
Why Study This Mantra...Learn to take full advantage the two most essential elements in your life.
You will learn how to take control of two elements you rely on every moment of the day – air and water. You will learn powerful techniques for using breathing to control your mood and health.
Of course, air and water are the two foundations of life. But they're so much more. Harnessing their power allows for openings we can leverage in other aspects of our life.
Drinking water maximizes your brain function, energy levels, and of course, physical performance. It staves off headaches and helps you manage weight.
Having a breathing practice is a really powerful tool for relaxation and breaking the stress response cycle. But it can also be helpful for reducing anxiety, helping you get to sleep at night, relieving muscle tension, and even giving you an energy boost. It's a simple, powerful practice that's easy to learn, fast to perform, and can be done anywhere! As far as great life techniques go, this one is at the top!
Before you begin...
Before you start thes practices and challenges, take a moment to rate yourself on this mantra. Give yourself a score from 1-10 (10 being the highest).
Do this again at the end of a month of practices and challenges. How much have you grown?
Alternate as you see fit between these two daily practices
I will practice breathing exercises today.
As I put my mantra on in the morning, I will take 5 minutes to perform a breathing exercise that will energize me and prepare me for the day.
As I take my mantra off tonight, I will take 5 minutes to perform a breathing exercise. This will help me relax, relieve the day's stress, and prepare for a healthy night's sleep.
Today's affirmation: "I will choose water today."
Today I will listen to my body. When I am thirsty, my body needs water, not soda, sweetened drinks, alcohol, or so-called energy drinks. When sipping water today, I will allow myself to enjoy the cool pleasure that comes from natural rehydration.
When I go to bed tonight, I do so knowing that my body will rest more fully because I chose water over sugar, alcohol, excessive caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
Find Your Breathing Practice
There are many breathing techniques out there. One isn't necessarily better than the other. Rather, it depends on what you're comfortable with, and what you'd like to accomplish.
Here are some techniques that you can try. This month, explore the techniques, find which one is right for you, and make it a part of your life.
Top RecommendationsA great place to start is with one of the following:
- 4-7-8 Breathing, or "Relaxing Breath" (helps with getting to sleep)
- Alternate Nostril Breathing, or "Nadi Shodhana" (alleviates stress and anxiety)
- Lion's Breath (alleviates stress, eliminates toxins)
- Deep Breathing (alleviates stress and anxiety)
For Relaxing and Alleviating Stress and Anxiety
Beyond that, there is a long list of other breathing practices that help with relaxing and alleviating stress and anxiety, including:
- Equal Breathing/Sama Vritti
- Belly Breathing/Diaphragmatic Breathing (do this one before you're about to do something stressful)
- Box Breathing
- Humming Bee Breath/Bhramari
- Equal Breathing
- Mindful Breathing
- Breath Focus Technique
- Roll Breathing
- Sitali Breath
Breathing Techniques for Other Benefits
There are a handful of other breathing techniques which aid in an assortment of benefits, such as:
- Bellows Breath/Bhastrika (helps with depression)
- Kapalabhati/Skull-shining Breath (warms the body, wakes up the brain)
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (lowers blood pressure, decreases muscle tension, reduces fatigue and anxiety)
- Pursed Lip Breathing (helps those with lung conditions, slows breathing/making breathing more effective)
- Resonant Breathing/Coherent Breathing (helps with insomnia, anxiety, depressive symptoms, stress, immune system response, alertness, concentration, vitality, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit disorder)
Apps for Breathing Techniques
Of course, there are a large assortment of apps in the app store that help with breathing techniques as well. While Bodhi Band does not endorse any app in particular, here are some examples of apps (in the Apple Store, but the Android store has them as well) for you to consider. We recommend you do your own research and identify which app works best for you.
- The Breathing App
- Breathwrk: Breathing Exercises
- Breathe+ Simple Breath Trainer
- iBreathe – Relax and Breathe
- Deep Breathing Exercises Relax
- Breethe: Meditation & Sleep
Implementing a Breathing Practice Has Many Health Benefits
Too often we take the basics in life for granted, especially something involuntary like a heartbeat or breathing. As you’ve already learned in previous months, it’s focusing on those things we take for granted every day that can have the biggest positive impact on our lives!
In multiple research studies comparing groups of subjects who implemented a wide variety of breathing practices vs those who did not, the studies have shown these breathing practices can help reduce blood pressure 1, 2 , hypertension 3,4, and increased parasympathetic activity 5 (your body’s mechanism for controlling your body’s functions while at rest, including respiration, heart rate & digestion).
An additional technique employed by many studies is a device to help set a slow and steady rhythm for your breathing exercises. Feel free to use a breathing app on your phone, low volume music, or anything else with a slow and steady rhythm.
Water is Fundamental to (a Better) Life!
Life as we know it is made possible (in part) by water. The health benefits of drinking plenty of water throughout the day are already well known. But there’s a lot more to it.
Traditionally, we’ve been recommended to drink 8 glasses (8 oz each) of water per day (although there is a bit of ambiguity starting to pop up in the scientific community regarding this recommendation8). But what you should also keep in mind is the type of water you consume. Even if we don’t know what “right” is in terms of the exact number of glasses we need to drink, we know what “wrong” is and there’s great news-there’s an easy way to avoid it!
Multiple scientific studies have built a very compelling case to replace sugary drinks such as soda & sports drinks with plain water. These “SSB” drinks, short for “sugar-sweetened beverages”, have been linked to a variety of health risks including obesity and type 2 diabetes. A fantastic overview of the research into the impact of sugary drinks and the benefits of switching to water is featured in this online article published by The Nutrition Source, a leading authority on food and nutrition knowledge based at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition 10. Research has shown drinking just one of these SSBs per day without cutting calories from somewhere else in your diet would lead to weight gain of up to 5 pounds per year.
Conserving While We Consume
Just about 30 minutes away from our Las Vegas home sits Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the US. Formed by the Hoover Dam and filled by the Colorado River, the lake provides water to approximately 25,000,000 people in the southwest United States.11 Unfortunately the lake levels are dropping. Dramatically.
- Grossman E, Grossman A, Schein MH, Zimlichman R, Gavish B. Breathing-control lowers blood pressure. J Hum Hypertens. 2001 Apr;15(4):263-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.jhh.1001147. PMID: 11319675.
- Wang CH, Yang HW, Huang HL, Hsiao CY, Jiu BK, Lin C, Lo MT. Long-Term Effect of Device-Guided Slow Breathing on Blood Pressure Regulation and Chronic Inflammation in Patients with Essential Hypertension Using a Wearable ECG Device. Acta Cardiol Sin. 2021 Mar;37(2):195-203. doi: 10.6515/ACS.202103_37(2).20200907A. PMID: 33716462; PMCID: PMC7953112.
- Meles E, Giannattasio C, Failla M, Gentile G, Capra A, Mancia G. Nonpharmacologic treatment of hypertension by respiratory exercise in the home setting. Am J Hypertens. 2004 Apr;17(4):370-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjhyper.2003.12.009. PMID: 15062893.
- Grossman A, Grossman E. [Treatment of hypertension with device-guided breathing exercise]. Harefuah. 2003 Oct;142(10):677-9, 718. Hebrew. PMID: 14565066.
- Pal GK, Velkumary S, Madanmohan. Effect of short-term practice of breathing exercises on autonomic functions in normal human volunteers. Indian J Med Res. 2004 Aug;120(2):115-21. PMID: 15347862.
- An, R. & McCaffrey, J. (2016) Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005–2012. J Hum Nutr Diet. 29, 624– 632 doi: 10.1111/jhn.12368
- Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
- Valtin H, Gorman S. “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 8”?. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2002 Nov;
- Duffey, K.J.; Poti, J. Modeling the Effect of Replacing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption with Water on Energy Intake, HBI Score, and Obesity Prevalence. Nutrients 2016, 8, 395. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8070395
- “Sugary Drinks”. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/story_13178.asphttps://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/