I’m no stranger to stress and anxiety. If I don’t breathe properly, eat well and exercise, I become ungrounded. Also, I use to do so many things so fast as I ran around my city in the swell of the summer heat. I would do my meditation and zen out before work. Yet when I hit the office, the stress involved with my job would leave me at the end of the day feeling like I had given the world a little piece of my soul.
So the concept that I could change my state of calmness with my breathe use to feel alien. I learnt the hard way. Yet in hindsight things would have been so much easier if I had just slowed down and breathed. Having worked on this side of myself I’ve learn to see the patterns and how yoga breathing has helped in the hardest parts of my life but also kept me grounded during the highs.
So with this in mind, here are my top three breathing exercises.
1. Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari)
Feeling stressed and anxious? Try this to calm and centre your nervous system and let go of anger after a hectic day. Bhramari is a type of indian bee. When doing this breathing exercise, you will be making a sound like a bee.
Method: Sit up nice and tall on the floor ( or chair if your body can’t do that).
Close your eyes and inhale and then exhale making the sound of the bee by sounding a continuous M noise. Try it for 3 to 5 minutes. Then sit quietly. It can become very meditative as it blasts the chatter out your head bringing you more into the present moment.
If you fancy doing the traditional way with the hand mudra see the video I found on the internet below.
2. Alternative nostril breathing
Try this to change the state of the mind, release past shocks and karmas.
Alternative nostril breathing is one of the best things you can do to soothe your mind as it brings a sense of calmness. It is so clever that it will also give you energy if you need it. The left nostril is calming and the right one is energising. Basically, we naturally breathe through one nostril then the other during the course of the day. Alternative nostril breathing pranayama allows us to balance both sides of the brain.
If you have time to do nothing at all then do five minutes of this for at least 40 days and see what an amazing effect it has. This really is one of the best things to help you sleep at night, but it is also great to help you wake up and prepare for the day.
- Sit up tall. On the left hand join your thumb and first finger together in chin mudra (or gyan mudra as it’s also known) and rest the back of the hand on the left knee. (This creates a pranic circuit and is also said to join your positive ego with wisdom.)
- On your right hand bend your first finger and index finger so that they touch the base of the thumb known as the pollicis brevis.
- Close the right nostril with your right thumb as you inhale through the left nostril. With the ring finger and little finger of the same hand close off the left nostril so that both nostrils are closed off.
- Pause, now exhale fully out of the right.
- Then inhale right, close, pause then exhale out of the left. Continue doing this for 5 to 20 minutes.
- Finish by placing both hands on the leg and inhaling through both nostrils. Enjoy that moment.
3. Take the breathing off the mat into every moment of your life
Finally how to take it off the mat.
Method: Slow the breathing right down making it even and exhale it all out before taking any more in again. Try and inhale for five, hold for five and exhale for five…. gradually building up the time. The focus is not to strain but patiently expand the lungs. Remember to breathe in out the nose. If you forget just come back to the breath. Try this for forty days and see how much it changes your life. If you miss a day go back to it and try for another 40 days. One day you will train your breathing so well that you will do it without thinking.
Let me know how you get on.
The Word Sprite!