Yoga Breathing Basics for Stress

Yoga is a great way to relax and quiet the mind.  It’s a mixture of deep controlled breaths, poses and meditation.  A practice that combines the mind and body to help reduce stress and even help with restlessness.  It also helps become more aware of our thoughts, feelings and be present. When feeling stressed it can be common to feel like you’re short of breath or hyperventilating. This is actually due to exhaling more than you inhale. Instead of keeping a steady balanced breath you start breathing very quickly causing you to feel even more out of balance. It can feel very odd and frightening.

  • A simple breathing technique that helps me reset my breath and calm my mind is holding my breath for a few seconds then taking a deep sigh (deep exhale).
  • I follow this with the left nostril breathing technique which is simply covering your right nostril and breathing in and out only through your left nostril at a steady beat. Do this for about 30 seconds or until you feel more at ease then you can let go of your right nostril and start taking deep belly breaths.

  • Diaphragmatic breathing (also known as deep breathing) allows air to enter your lungs. This will expand your stomach and allows enough oxygen to enter your body helping manage stress. You can practice deep belly breathing by placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Notice how you breathe normally. The hand on the chest should not move and your shoulders should not be moving up and down. This would be shallow breathing and may make stress worse. The hand on your belly should be moving out and in. Imagining the belly is a balloon that is filling up with air when you inhale and deflating when you exhale.

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Practice these techinques a few minutes every day so that it can be easier to turn to when you are feeling overwhelmed and also easier to spot when your breathing is becoming shallow so you can readjust it!

When in doubt just BREATHE!!

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Yoga is a great way to relax and quiet the mind. It’s a mixture of deep controlled breaths, poses and meditation. A practice that combines the mind and body to help reduce stress and even help with restlessness.

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