Stress is an unavoidable part of life…taking the time to “breathe consciously” is important since it will make you more balanced and increase your productivity. Breathing consciously can also help you control your emotions. When you change the way you breathe, you reduce your stress level. This is because breathing restores balance to the nervous system.
Many of us take breathing for granted because it is something that our bodies automatically do.
The next time you feel anxious about a situation in the office OR get stressed out from a 2 ½ hour commute, try these 2 simple breathing exercises (below) to calm you down. Your mind and body will thank you!
Balanced Breathing (Sama Vritti)
1) Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight
2) Close your eyes and breathe naturally
3) Now take a long, deep breath through your nose for 4 seconds
4) Exhale on a count of 4 seconds
(The length of your inhale and exhale should be the same)
5) Repeat for several minutes until you feel your mind and body relax
***For beginners, try this breathing exercise for 1 minute. Then practice breathing a few more minutes longer every day.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
1) Sit in a comfortable seated position
2) Breathe naturally, allowing your mind and body to settle
3) Hold your right thumb over your right nostril
4) Inhale slowly & deeply through the left nostril
5) At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger
6) Exhale through the right nostril
7) Hold your left thumb over your left nostril
8) Inhale slowly & deeply through the right nostril
9) At the peak of inhalation, close the right nostril with your ring finger
10) Exhale through the left nostril
Remember to inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.
***Repeat this breathing exercise until you feel your mind and body relax
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