Breathing practices

 

Breathing practices for relieving anxiety.


Lying flat on the floor with legs straight or bent, finding a place of comfort, spend a few minutes focusing on the breath.
Breathing consciously is at the very heart of our Yoga practice, and it is a lifesaver that stabilises you when you are stressed. Breath is the only physiological function that is controlled by both the voluntary and involuntary nervous systems.  Just as with the beating of your heart, the movement of the breath is regulated by the autonomic or involuntary nervous system.  We don't have to say consciously "breathe in , breathe out."  But because breath is also controlled by the voluntary nervous system we can breathe intentionally, we can lengthen and deepen the breaths.  We can literally reverse the body's stress response by changing how we breathe.  So when you are anxious , focus on taking slow deep breaths to trigger the relaxation response.

 

PRACTICE 1.
Belly Breathing (Tip-Breathe intentionally pay more attention to your exhalations than inhalations, because the in breath that follows a full out breath is automatically deeper.)


1. Place one hand on your belly just above the navel just below the ribs.  Place your other hand on your chest
2. Pat your belly then pat your chest - this should feel soothing.
3. Breathe in through your nose allow your belly to rise
4. Exhale nice and slowly through pursed lips, imagine  your breath is a very fine thread of golden silk.
5. Breathe in through your nose again, let your belly push your hand out away from the spine
6. Focus on slow, relaxed exhalations, either through the nostrils or through pursed lips - (remember the fine golden thread) allow the navel to gently fall with the slow out breath
7. Repeat these steps three to six times. Take your time and enjoy breathing

 

PRACTICE 2
Breathing Slowly

Sit comfortably and focus on your breathing, you can EITHER breathe through pursed lips , as though you were whistling, OR gently close off your right nostril with your thumb and breathe through your left nostril.  By closing off the right nostril and breathing through the left nostril it is said to activate the right side of the brain, which triggers a relaxation response. Notice that you can't move as much air.  The inability to move as much air begins to ease hyperventilation.


1. Slow down your breathing by breathing in to the count of four and out to the count of six for three full breaths.  Don't force the breath. Allow the breath to slowly become fuller
2. Resume normal breathing, then  practice belly breathing for a few minutes.  This will calm you by activating the parasympathetic relaxation response.

REMEMBER- The breath is always here, like an anchor within you.  It is a place of stillness and peace, that we can return to at anytime.  Whilst we focus on the breath we are truly grounded in the present moment