Breathing exercises have the power to calm the body and mind almost instantaneously. We’ve brought you five easy and quick techniques to help you deal with stress and anxiety.
Anxiety is a hot topic at the moment. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the search for tools and techniques to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms has sharply increased.
Breathing exercises — also called breathwork techniques — are effective and are simple ways to de-stress the body and the mind. Often used during yoga practices (called pranayama), breathing consciously helps us bring awareness to the present moment. Here are five ways to practice breathwork by yourself.
Lion’s Breath (Simhasana)
Lion’s breath or Simhasana in Sanskrit is rooted in the Throat Chakra. It’s called this because you must stick out your tongue and roar like a lion to execute the exercise. It helps to relieve the facial muscles, unclench the jaw, and release tension from the neck.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
The alternate nostril breathing technique gives the mind a break from overthinking by giving it something to focus on — by using the hands to alternate breathing between nostrils.
This technique, called Nadi Shodhana in Sanskrit, has been used by yogis for centuries to calm the mind and nervous system.
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise works as a tranquilizer to the nervous system. It’s a great technique to be performed before going to sleep — especially for those experiencing anxiety and trouble sleeping — and you can do it while lying down in bed. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 and exhale for 8.
Breath Retention (Kumbhaka)
As the name suggests, this technique involves holding the breath during a specific period of time. To begin with, you can just hold the breath for the same amount of time you spent inhaling and exhaling. With a few weeks of practice, you can increase your tempo.
Simple Breathing Exercise
This breathing exercise can be done lying down, standing, or sitting down. It consists of deep inhales and exhales. Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. If you find this exercise difficult or that somehow it makes you feel anxious, stop for now and try another time.