Our minds are constantly in overdrive. Between replaying the past and worrying about the future, we rarely experience the very thing we should be experiencing - the present moment! Meditation and yogic breathing, aka ujjayi pranayama breathing, are powerful techniques that relax the mind and relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing works on the nervous system, thus regulating heart rate, breathing rate and “fight or flight” responses. When the mind is stressed, our nervous system cannot function properly. Our immune system takes a big hit. To sum it up, stress makes us sick and irritable!! Here are some tips on how to breath like a yogi and change your body’s physiological response to stress:
1- Sit or lay in a quiet space with the spine and neck straight. Add soft music if this helps you relax.
2- Close your eyes. With lips sealed, take a full, slow and deep breath in through your nose for approximately 3 counts. Constrict the muscles in the back of the throat. If you have trouble wth this, practice “fogging a mirror” or making a “haaaa sound” with your mouth open until you achieve this sound.
3- Exhale the breath out of the nose with lips sealed and muscles constricted in back of the throat. If it helps, your breath should sound like Darth Vader.
4- Repeat for at least 10 cycles of breath. Experience immediate effects from this short, soothing practice. This technique can be done alone when feeling stress or trying to fall asleep, or it can be added to your workout or yoga routine.