Yoga breathing techniques to try at home: Whether or not you are working at home because of the pandemic, learning how to work from home is an art. Suddenly, your worlds have collided; how will you handle the ongoings of your personal life, while simultaneously fulfilling your job requirements? Figuring out how to balance your work and home life can become a stressful issue to manage. The cognitive effects of anxiety, brought on by stress, include an inability to concentrate and racing, unwanted thoughts. These thoughts lead to physical symptoms that, put simply, do not feel good.
Getting in the habit of taking a “breathing break” will reduce stress and help you to recognise the moments in which it’s time to take a step back.– Yoga Teacher, Ashley Archambault
Try These Yoga Breathing Techniques To Reduce Anxiety
1. Set a reminder.
If meditation or reflection is not part of your routine, it will help to set a reminder, once a day, at a time that you will realistically be able to take a moment for yourself. Depending on your schedule, choose a time in either the morning or evening to stop and breathe. If you do this over time, conscious breathing will become a habit, and something that you do all day, without having to set an alarm.
2. Use imagery.
If breathing breaks are new to you, it can be uncomfortable to stop and focus on your breathing. You might think, “What do I do now? Am I doing this right?” If this happens to you, it can help to visualize your breathing. For example, imagine a cup of hot cocoa, and smell the beverage, inhaling deeply through the nose, and then blow on your cocoa, cooling it down, exhaling slowly through your mouth. You may also envision a small bowl of soup if that sounds more appealing to you. Repeat this breathing pattern, in through the nose and out through the mouth, several times, and you will have taken a breathing break of a minute or two, which can be all you need to reset.
3. Find a yoga breathing technique that suits you best.
– Nose breathing (not mouth breathing): Breathing in and out of the nose only, is a way of strengthening your airways in time. Breathing through your nose filters the air coming in, while breathing through the mouth simply does not. Plus, the nose warms and moistens the air you breath, protecting the lungs from breathing in air that is too cold or dry. It is often recommended that people who suffer with pulmonary issues should practice nose breathing and belly breathing.
– Belly breathing (understanding the diaphragm): The diaphragm is just above the stomach and is a major respiratory muscle. Practicing full inhalations that fill the lungs and expand the stomach strengthen this muscle, improving overall lung function. Placing one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach, while taking full inhales through the nose, can help you to monitor whether or not you’re breathing in completely, feeling whether or not both the chest and stomach are rising. On exhales, you’ll feel these areas depress as you exhale through the nose at the same pace.
– Practice breath holds: Breath holds involve holding your breath in between the inhale and the exhale. You should not feel as though you are going blue in the face holding your breath; when it feels as though you need to take a breath soon, exhale slowly, and then inhale again slowly, repeating this process. If breath holds make you feel anxious, hold off on practicing breath holds until you are more comfortable with taking these conscious breathing breaks.
4. Connect movement to inhales and exhales.
The asanas were designed to flow with your breathing, working in sync with the inhales and exhales. For example, when doing cat and cow (Chakravakasana) you can breathe in when arching your back, looking up, feeling an intense stretch in your midsection, and then exhale as you arch your back in the other direction, looking down, and feeling a deep stretch in the shoulders and back muscles. If you enjoy this type of flow, where you link the breath to the movement, then Vinyasa yoga is probably the right practice for you.
5. Take note of when you feel anxious; begin to recognise your triggers.
Once conscious breathing becomes more natural for you, try to start paying attention to the times in which you feel like you need to take a breathing break. Becoming more aware the things that lead to stress, whether it’s an environment, a person, or a thought process you may have, is the first step in minimizing anxiety.
Though we may like to think otherwise sometimes, we really only have control over our reactions and our choices, so choose to react in a way that will lead to what is best for you.– Yoga Teacher, Ashley Archambault
6. Find a mantra.
Mantras can be repeated while sitting and meditating or while flowing through the asanas. Some examples of mantras are: I am strong, Everything is going to be okay, It’s going to be a good day. Mantras can be very specific, such as, “I am more than qualified for this position,” or “I am in great shape, because I am taking care of myself.” Only you know what you’re struggling with, so finding ways to frame these things in an empowering way can shut those unwanted thoughts down and alleviate the stress that they are likely leading to.
One of my favourite inspirations is a quote by Jessica Sepel, “Remember that your body is listening to your thoughts. Make them good ones.” There is no way around the mind-body connection. Learning how to listen to your own thoughts and the signals your body is giving you is a process, but one well worth the benefits, so be easy on yourself. It’s important to think of your yoga as a practice, something that you build upon, and thinking of these yoga breathing techniques in the same way will serve you in not giving up on making breathing breaks just another part of the way you live happily. Hopefully you find value in these simple yoga breathing techniques.