Breathing practices are subtle but powerful. Coming into the breath can help calm the mind and ground us energetically. Our western culture is in a constant state of go-go-go, which can make us feel short of breath. The beauty of breathing practices (pranayama) is they can help reduce the affects of stress and tension.
One of my favorite techniques is alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana). Not only does it help calm the mind give one a sense of peace, it aids in purifying the blood system and detoxifying the immune system. One only needs to practice it a few minutes each day.
As with any breath work, breath in and out only through the nose. This brings the body to an alkaline state versus an acidic one with the mouth open. Inhale slowly, deeply and gently. Elongate the exhale; release the breath from the top of the torso to the bottom, until the breath is completely empty. Repeat. Once you become comfortable with this rhythm of breath, the begin alternating the breath through one nostril at a time.
Bring your hand in front of your face and place your peace fingers between your eyebrows, this is also referred to as the third eye. This will leave your thumb and ring finger free. Inhale, place your thumb on your right nostril and exhale out of the left nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, place your ring finger on your left nostril and exhale out of the right nostril. That is one full cycle. Repeat 5 times, gradually increasing yourself to 10 rounds.