Breathing IS the easiest, cheapest, most effective way to reduce anxiety and stress.
In the world of yoga, they call it PRANAYAMA. It is the fourth limb of yoga and, my favorite! Pranayama is the practice of breath control. These exercises have the ability to quickly increase your energy, release stress, improve our mental clarity, and improve our physical health. It is usually practiced after the asana (poses) of yoga. A series of breath exercises that bring more oxygen to blood and to the brain.
Prana is Sanskrit for life force and ayama means extending or stretching. Pranayama translates as- to control life force. In the average person, the channels are blocked, disrupting the free flow of prana (what the yogi’s call it) or qi (how the acupuncturists refer to it). This broken and jerky flow makes for worry, fear, uncertainty, conflict, tension, etc. When prana/qi flows smoothly, the mind is calm, positive and enthusiastic. Pranayama uses specific rhythms and techniques to bring us numerous health benefits – such as:
Boost immune system
Rejuvenate the body and mind
Slow the aging process
Try some of these exercises on your own.. if you do them right, you won’t need me for acupuncture!
Pranayama – Breathing Exercises
· Inhale expand the heart/center of the chest, exhale pull the belly gently into the spine. Lengthen the breath, even inhale and exhale.
· Ferris Wheel: Inhale to the top of the wheel, exhale down around to the bottom. Nice, even, slow breathing through the nostrils. Count the breath: Inhale 5, exhale 5. Pause at the top of the breath and at the bottom for a count of 1-2.
· Paint the fence: Inhale brush stroke down, exhale, brush stroke up. Even, slow breathing through the nostrils. Count the breath: Inhale 3-4, exhale 6-8. Making the exhale twice as long as the inhale decreases anxiety.
· Alternate nostril breathing: Inhale through the right nostril, pause, exhale out the left. Inhale through the left, pause, exhale out the right. Repeat.
· Inhale up from the pelvic floor for three counts, hold for three at the third eye, exhale back down for 6 counts.
· Inhale into the third eye, let the breath pool, exhale forehead, crown of the head, back of the head.
These breathing exercises reduce stress, alleviate tension, quiet the mind and help you to connect with your Inner Self.