by: Jennifer Carter Avgerinos
Take a moment and focus on your breath. What do you notice?
Focusing on your breath allows you to gauge where you are in the present moment. It can help you determine if you’re in balance.
We unconsciously hold our breath many times each day. It’s typically the first action that we take when we don’t want to lose control of a situation. This is a normal reflex; we reduce our breathing to a survival level when we’re tense and trying to just “get through it.” We take in just enough oxygen to stay alive. Vigorous exercise may be the only time when we truly and deeply breathe.
We should be doing the exact opposite. Studies have shown that yoga and pranayama can help to reduce stress, relieve tension in the body, help improve the immune system, and support better sleep. Yoga poses and breathing techniques, including belly and rhythmic breathing as well as the child’s pose, will help you relax and reduce stress. These exercises are simple, don’t take much time, require no equipment, and can be done anywhere. Try each and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels. Try the following yoga poses and breaths for managing stress.
This is a core breath that is used at the beginning of most yoga classes. It can bring awareness into the body and calm the mind.
When you think about the belly or abdomen expanding, think about a balloon as it expands. The breath should be deep and elongated. Use this breath when you want to relax or let go of your thoughts.
This is a more energizing breath. Use this if you’re feeling sluggish or disconnected from your body and need more energy. This is a good alternative to drinking another cup of coffee.
You’ll feel more energized after just six in-and-out cycles of the breath. Pause between cycles with a regular inhale and exhale. This will keep you from becoming lightheaded. This breath will turn routine activities into a moving meditation.
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This breath is great for releasing tension and balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Try this breath before meditating or just before going to sleep. It helps to quiet the mind.
Focusing on your breath shifts awareness away from the mind and towards the body. Taking awareness off the mind stops the incessant mind chatter that is distracting and deepens our stress levels.
Practicing these three breathing techniques can help eliminate stress, which slows down aging, and can even prevent illness.
Strike a Pose
This posture calms the mind and helps to relieve back, neck, shoulder, and hip tension. This powerful yet gentle pose provides mental, physical, and emotional relief.
Supported Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
This posture has so many great applications and benefits. Even if you don’t have menstrual pain, sciatica, gastritis, osteoporosis, or anxiety, this pose can help reduce stress hormones and elevate your mood. The entire body is stretched in this pose. It also provides mental calmness because the head is slightly lower than the heart.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This is the ultimate relaxation pose. Beta brain waves are decreased and the central nervous system is relaxed; the entire mind/body benefits from this pose. It’s why every yoga class ends with Savasana.
Take a little time today and try one of these three breathing techniques or poses to reduce stress and improve your overall health. Let us know if they help.
- See more at: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/3-poses-and-3-breaths-to-manage-your-stress#sthash.rEY4YjQR.dpuf