3 Breathing Exercises to Ease Anxiety

Often times, we naturally forget to breathe. How can that be possible? Well, through challenging times, it’s east to feel the tension in the body and allow our breath to become shallow. Our breath is vital to not only bringing in oxygen but to bring ourselves to the present moment. Most importantly to release negative thoughts. The following 3 breathing exercises I have used through some difficult times.

As much attention we give to charging our electronics, we should give time to recharging our minds. In yoga, there is prana. Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. For example, we receive prana from food and most importantly, the breath.

  1. Sama Vritti or equal breathing calms the body and the nervous system. This exercise can be done in a cross-legged position or lying on your back. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Mentally count to four as you inhale. Then count to four as you exhale. Try to keep your inhales of equal length to your exhales.
  2. Abdominal breathing can calm your body as well as boost energy. Sitting comfortably in a chair or lying on your back, calm the mind. Place one hand on the abdomen. Inhale through your nose and allow your abdomen to expand. You should feel the pressure against your hand as your abdomen is rising. Then exhale through your mouth. Don’t force each breath. It should be natural. Try this exercise for 10 minutes.
  3. Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is one of my favorite breathing techniques. At first, I experienced difficulty with this exercise. I felt angst but it turned out to be very beneficial for me. This removes toxins, restores nervous system, and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In a comfortable seat, hold the right thumb nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the top of the breath, pinch both nostrils and hold the breath for small pause. Then open the right nostril and exhale. Continue these exercise for about 5-10 cycles.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thích Nhất Hạnh

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