Breathing techniques to help you conquer anxiety and stress!
Over worked, under slept and feeling the stress of it all? Mindful breathing helps keep body and mind working in unison, which can lower blood pressure, increase your sense of calmness and relaxation, and decreases your stress! The way you breathe affects your whole body!
Abdominal / Belly Breathing
This is an easy exercise you can do anytime you feel the need to relax (before an exam, before an interview, when the cop pulls you over and asks for your license and registration... whenever).
Can be done in any position; however it’s easiest to learn lying comfortably, flat on your back, with a pillow under your knees. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down (roll your shoulder blades down your back, tuck them under your ribs, lengthen your neck and chin)
Place one hand on your abdomen just below your ribs (above your belly button) and the other hand on your chest (across your sternum /under your clavicles). Pay attention to how your hands are (or are not) moving with each breath.
Now, take a deep breath in through your nose, while counting to 4; feel your bottom hand lift as your breath goes all the way down into your tummy, can the sides of your ribs expand outwardly?
As you exhale slowly, also counting to 4, let your belly push all the air out through your mouth, bringing your tummy all the way in, (as if you want your belly button to touch your spine). You can try opening your mouth slightly, placing your tongue on the bony ridge just behind your upper front teeth when you exhale, so that you make almost a whistling sound, through “pursed” or open lips.
When you’re more practiced, you can increase your count from 4, to 6 – 8 counts per breath.
During exhalation, imagine letting all of the tension and stress leave your body, being carried out of your body, on your breath.
Repeat. You’re aiming for 6 -10 deep, slow breaths per minute, for 5 - 10 minutes, to have a physiological effect on your heart rate et all.
Caution; don’t hold your breath / exhale to the point of making yourself dizzy. Seeing stars is never fun! Tone it down some, breath normally and sit up slowly.
4 – 7 – 8 Breathing
Begin lying comfortably with your hands in the same position
s as above.
Take a nice slow inhale, from your belly so you feel your bottom hand rise, counting to 4 (to yourself).
Hold your breath, counting to 7 (again; silently, to yourself)
Slowly exhale completely, counting to 8 (in your head). Try to have all the air exhaled completely by the time you reach 8.
Repeat 3 – 7 times, again being careful not to make yourself light headed, dizziness is not the goal, deep breathing is.
Looking to further deepen your relaxation and breathing techniques? please let me know, we'll set aside some time. Namaste.