Be honest, how many of you have been anxious lately? Well, we do get anxious many times in a month and at times frequently in a day. While anxiety at a controlled level is normal but people getting anxious every minute or suffering from anxiety attacks frequently, need to consult a doctor.
Yoga is the most organic method to treat your problems. You just need to be consistent and it would work wonders. Famous celebs like Shilpa Shetty believe in the art of yoga. There are many yoga breathing exercises which work well for anxiety.
If you face breathlessness as a part of anxiety attacks, these exercise will help you a lot. So, let’s start.
Focus on your breath
You must have noticed that whenever you get anxious about something, you start taking deep breaths. This exercise will help your deep breaths get more focused and slow at the same time.
First, you need to sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Find a space in your house where there’s absolute silence (not so common in middle class families but try finding one).
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Now, try to inhale and exhale slowly. The main focus here is that you should inhale air slowly and when you exhale the air out, it should be by saying a word that calms your soul like ‘Relax’.
- Inhale the fresh air.
- Hold on for a few seconds. Keep your mind focused.
- Exhale the air by saying a word.
Simple, isn’t it? Now, every time you get anxious, you just say the word and your breathing will become more focused. It will also calm your mind. At least practice this for about 20 minutes daily.
Coherent breathing, also known as resonant breathing, is almost same as the above exercise. Though there are some differences in the technique. The end result of each exercise is the same i.e., to calm you down.
First lie down and then close your eyes. Take a deep breath i.e., inhale air and hold it for about 6 seconds. Make sure you don’t hold air for more than 6 seconds because you don’t want your lungs to get filled with air, right? Then exhale.
- Inhale air.
- Hold it for 6 seconds.
- Exhale air slowly.
Slowly and steadily releasing all the negativity and stress out. Continue the process for 10 minutes. Do it on daily basis.
Breathing from Diaphragm
This method can reduce the amount of work one’s body need to do when they breathe. Breathing from diaphragm also called as abdomen breathing can be difficult in the beginning but then eventually it gets easier.
First lie down comfortably on your bed and keep pillows beneath your knees and head. Feel relaxed and then place one hand under your rib cage. The other hand should be over your heart which is at the centre of your chest, but a bit tilted towards left.
Now repeat the breathing process done in the above two exercises, inhale, and exhale air. Notice how your stomach and chest moves. The main focus should be on your stomach as you breathe.
- Lie down comfortably.
- Keep pillows beneath your knees and head.
- One hand under your rib cage.
- One hand on heart.
You can also practice belly breathing which is again very helpful. The process is really simple. Lie down comfortably as described above. Put one of your hand on the chest and the other hand on your stomach. It should be above your belly button.
Then what? Simple, breathe and notice. Observe how your stomach rises but at the same time remember your chest should remain still. Exhale the air through your mouth and engage the stomach muscles in in the process.
- Lie down comfortably.
- One hand on chest.
- One hand on stomach.
- Inhale through nose.
- Exhale through mouth.
Try practicing this process more often so that breathing this way becomes normal and automatic. At least try to do it 2 times a day for 10 minutes.
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Be a Fearless Lion
Lion’s breath is a yoga aasan which requires you to exhale forcefully. This won’t be comfortable like other yoga aasans but once you get into the flow, you would enjoy it. Lion’s breath also teaches you discipline and sitting manners.
First, you need to get into a kneeling position. Cross your ankles and let your bottom rest on your feet. It may be tough in the starting, so you may opt for an alternative option. You can sit cross-legged which seems more easy and comfortable.
Rest your hand on the knees and relax. Now, the inhale part is easy, but the exhale part can be quite tricky. Inhale air through your nose and then breathe out the air through your mouth. While doing so, make sure you say ‘ha’.
Also, take your tongue out and stretch it till your chin. This should happen while you are exhaling the air out. Your focus should be on the third eye of yours i.e., the middle of your forehead or the end of your nose.
Repeat the process six times and relax your face again as you inhale air.
- Get into kneeling position.
- Rest your hand on your knees.
- Inhale air.
- Exhale through your mouth.
- In the process, take your tongue out and say ‘ha’.
You may be confused that how can such a difficult yoga calm your anxiety down? Well, the answer is quite simple. Pranayama, which is a form of yoga includes multiple breathing variations to calm an anxious person. Lion’s breath is one of them. The more difficult, the more effective.
Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana is also a part of Pranayama. In this process, you need to sit down comfortably and rest your left hand on your lap. Now raise the other hand i.e., right hand. Inhale slowly through the left side of your nostril and keep your right side closed with the help of your thumb. Now, hold the breath for a second and close the left nostril using your ring finger.
Exhale air using your right nostril. Wait and the repeat the cycle by starting from right this time. Do it 10 times and each cycle should take up to 40 seconds.
Make sure you close your eyes and stay focused during the process.
- Lie comfortably and close your eyes.
- Inhale air and keep your right side of nostril closed.
- Hold air for few seconds.
- Release air through your right nostril.
- Keep your left nostril closed.
This is one of the most effective yoga to calm down your anxiety and help in breathing. If these exercises result in more anxiety attacks, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
TIP: Make sure you follow them and be consistent. You can cure your anxiety and you will. Have faith.