Just Breathe. Yogic Breathing Exercises to Help Manage Anxiety

Just Breath Yoga Breathing for Anxiety

Stressful times, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic, can cause your body to react in a number of negative fight or flight responses—just when you need to be in peak performance mode the most. Focusing on your breath by learning calming breathing techniques can significantly ease anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, tummy upset and other stress related problems, while helping you to ground and navigate successfully thru this crisis.

Conscious breathing techniques are an amazing way to help you become connected mind, body and spirit that has been practiced by yogis for hundreds of years. Mindful breathing helps you manage and release negative thoughts and feelings rather than store them in your body. Breathe work increases alertness and oxygen flow to your brain and body and helps rid your body of harmful toxins.

So, if you are ready to begin, follow these simple steps to unplug and renew:

  1. Turn off all your devices. Find a quiet place in your home. Get into a comfortable position. Then, close your eyes and focus your attention to your breathing. Take a few moments to focus and acknowledge on how your body is feeling. Start with your head, neck, shoulders, chest, belly, hips then legs noticing if you have any tension stored anywhere.
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your lower belly to fill with air, gently expanding out. Exhale by relaxing and releasing all of the air through your nose.
  3. Place one hand on your abdomen, right below your navel, and the other hand on your upper chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose. Feel the coolness of the air as it enters in and the warmth as it flows out.
  4. As you breathe in and out through your nose, focus on shifting your breath so that you can feel the rise and fall of your breathing in your abdomen more than in your chest. In other words, make the hand that rests on your abdomen move more than the hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose, sending it through the back of your throat and down to your belly. Let your abdomen slowly deflate as you exhale through your nose.
  5. Take ten more slow, deep breaths, consciously focusing on the rise and fall of your lower belly. Continue breathing fully and deeply, allowing and trusting the body as the breath slows and becomes more relaxed.

Many studies have found that deep, yoga breathwork or ujjayi helps balance the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions, such as temperature control and bladder function. Breathing is one of the simplest things in the world that you can consciously control to help you cope optimally now and always. So take this time to develop this powerful coping technique for the rest of your life.

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