If you are interested in adding breathwork to your health and wellness toolkit, then this article, which looks at exploring the anchor breath, may be for you.
Breathwork: Exploring the Anchor Breath
What is the anchor breath? Well, once you break it down, it’s literally what it sounds like.
What does an anchor do? An anchor is a device, usually a metal chain, that’s attached to a floating vessel. When the anchor is dropped into the water, it holds the vessel in place. We can visualize an anchor as a placeholder.
Using the anchor breathing technique, we can keep coming back to the breath in the physical body. The anchor breath becomes a placeholder for us as we attempt to stay focused on the present moment.
How to Practice the Anchor Breath Technique
If you’re new to breathwork, I’d suggest finding a quiet space and a time when you have a few minutes where you won’t get interrupted.
Come to a comfortable seat. You could sit on a chair or on the floor. Just try to sit long and tall through the back. Don’t slouch onto the chair as if you’re watching a TV program at night on the couch.
You can either close your eyes or take a soft gaze downwards toward the floor. Then, just start to notice your breathing as it is. Don’t change anything or fix something. Just sit and breathe naturally through the nose.
Now, here’s where the “anchor” comes into play.
Pick a physical place in the body that will be your anchor. It could be your nose, feeling the air entering and exiting through your nostrils. The anchor may be at your shoulders and chest, watching these areas rise and fall as you inhale and exhale. Perhaps, you notice the breath most in the ribs or belly, as they expand and contract while you breathe. Or, maybe you select another area of the body altogether.
It really doesn’t matter which place in your body you pick. The important thing is to select one part of the body where you feel and notice the breath the most.
Use the Anchor Breath to Meditate
So, each time you notice your mind has wandered, go ahead and gently return your focus to the anchor. Each time you become distracted, bring your attention back to that anchoring place in the body.
There you have it!
The anchor breath.
You can sit and practice for as long or as little as you like. Play around with anchor breathing. See if you can stay with your anchor for longer periods of time. Sit back, breathe, and enjoy.
Benefits of Anchor Breathing
The anchor breath, similar to other breathwork practices, can help reduce stress or anxiety. Anchor breathing supports us in staying present in the moment. The anchor breath exercise can invite feelings of peacefulness.
Using the physical cues from our bodies can help support us in yoga practice or meditation. Anchor breathing is an accessible way to sit and breathe quietly in the moment. Having the physical body as a support can help us focus on the here and now.
Contraindications of the Anchor Breath
There really are no contraindications for anchor breathing. As long as you can identify one area in the physical body and continue to refocus on that area, you can practice the anchor breath technique.
We are not offering medical advice or information in this post. Please consult your doctor or medical professional before accessing any breathing exercises.
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About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC, RYT (200) is a board-certified holistic nurse, registered yoga instructor, and reiki master.
Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified coach, nature lover, and avid meditator.
Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bulls. She enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, farming, music, and hiking.