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3 Breathing Exercises to Relieve Anxiety or Stress June 16, 2014

Breathing Pranayama
Every day we experience different situations that bring stress and anxiety to our lives. It is important to understand the situation and seek solutions. Some will argue the lack of time or that it takes more than just a breath to return to serenity, but have you tried it?
It is vital to learn to identify when you meet a high level of stress or anxiety. Only if we are aware of our situation we can take action and see options to return to our normal state.
First you must ask yourself if you tend to feel angry, upset or agitated. Do you sometimes feel out of place or depressed? Do you tend to be impulsive on the outside and take long time to overcome from anger? If you answered yes, you can use breath techniques to relieve anxiety or stress.
The Measured Breath. Sit or stand up. Make sure you have your hands relaxed and your knees a little loose. Drop your shoulders and relax your jaw. Breathe in through your nose and count to four, keeping the shoulders low and expanding your belly as you inhale. Hold your breath for a moment and slowly exhale while counting to seven. Repeat the exercise for a couple of minutes.
Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing. This breathing brings calm and balance, uniting the right and left sides of the brain. Sit in a comfortable position and press your right nostril with your right thumb, then you have to inhale deeply through the left nostril. Then press the left nostril with the middle finger and exhale through the right nostril. Continue alternating the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left.
Progressive relaxation. To relieve the tension of the head to the toes, close your eyes and focus on relaxing each muscle group, spending two to three seconds each. Start with your feet and go up your knees and hips, until you reach the head, while keeping slow deep breaths. If you find it a bit complicated, you can breathe through your nose and tighten the group of muscles while you hold your breath and count to five, then relax muscles and exhale through the mouth.
Picture by  Petras Gagilas.