Pranayama is the best therapy to keep the body and mind in balance and to achieve an ideal mental stability. Explore the blog to know the top breathing techniques that reduce anxiety, stress, and bring relaxation.
In today’s time, stress and worry are an indispensable part of our lives which surely interferes with the state of equipoise of our mind and body. The devastating condition is affecting the health and well-being in many ways. It begins by distorting the mental health that soon affects the body. One such issue is anxiety- an unpleasant state of inner turmoil accompanied by a nervous and manic behavior. Anxiety is not about a problem of fear- it is an unsettling feeling- a feeling of uneasiness, overreaction, restlessness, tension, etc.
To calm the anxiety and bring the being in a stable and relaxed state practicing breathing techniques surely helps. Breathing exercises or Pranayama is the major aspect of yoga and is one of the best and easiest ways of calming down the anxiety and stress level. And to start with, here are the top five and amazing breathing techniques for anxiety that carry various other health benefits as well.
Adham Pranayama (Abdominal Breathing)
Adham is a Sanskrit word that means Adham-low. It is a technique that involves the belly area for breathing. It calms the anxiety and reduces stress. The breathing exercise also strengthens the abdominal muscles, alleviates insomnia, detoxifies the body, heals emotions, energizes the mind, improves digestion, cures depression, and so much more.
• Sit straight on the floor with one hand placed on the chest and other on the abdomen.
• Now breathe in through your nose and breathe out through the mouth. You shall notice an expansion and contraction of the abdomen region during inhalation and exhalation.
• Ensure that your abdomen only rises and falls, not the chest. Hold the breath in and out for a few seconds. Practice the sequence for 1-2 minutes.
Anulom Vilom (Nadi Shodhana) Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Anulom Vilom is a Sanskrit word that means Anu-with, Vi-against, and Loma-hair, so ‘Anulom’ means ‘with the hair or grain’ and ‘Vilom’ means ‘against the natural course’. It relieves a headache, calms the mind, soothes the nervous system, reduces anxiety, improves oxygen and blood circulation, and strengthens the respiratory system.
• Sit on the floor in a meditative pose and place the left hand on the knee in Gyan Mudra and right hand near the nose.
• Place the right thumb on the side of right nostril, ring finger on the side of the left nostril, and index and middle finger between the eyebrows.
• Now close the right nostril and inhale from the left. Then close the left nostril and exhale from the right.
• Now inhale from the right and exhale from the left. Practice the sequence for 1-2 minutes.
Sama Vritti Pranayama (Equal Breathing)
The breathing exercises for anxiety ensure that the inhalation and exhalation are of the equal length, and to maintain the evenness. The breathing technique soothes and calms the mind, reduces anxiety and agitation, benefits the parasympathetic nervous system, promotes body-mind balance, enhances the equilibrium level, and brings the relaxing and restorative state of the whole being.
• Sit on the floor in Sukhasana with an erect spine and hands placed on the knees in Gyan Mudra.
• Now inhale and exhale through your nose taking an equal amount of time. Count till five as you inhale and while breathing out, do the same to maintain the evenness.
• Practice the sequence for 5-10 times.
Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing)
The name implies Kapal-Skull and Bhati- to shine in Sanskrit. It is a pranayama technique to cleanse the body and mind, enhance the functioning of the organs, energize the nervous system, improve metabolism, improve oxygen supply, bring mental clarity, and reduce anxiety.
• Sit in a meditative pose and close your eyes. Now breathe slowly and deeply, filling your lungs fully.
• Now exhale forcefully and quickly from the abdomen area while making a hissing sound.
• Repeat the whole process for 1-2 minutes.
Bhastrika (Bellow Breathing)
Bhastrika is a Sanskrit name that means Bellow. It is one of the conscious breathing techniques of Pranayama. The exercise promotes both physical and mental health. It calms the mind, improves circulation, focus, digestion, and memory, strengthens the respiratory system, reduces weight, etc.
• Sit on the floor in Sukhasana pose and then take a deep breath through the nose and exhale in the same manner.
• Now breathe in again and this time, exhale more forcefully and quickly. Make sure your mouth is closed.
• Try to do this for a few seconds. Take normal breathing breaks in the sequence. Repeat the process for at least 3-5 cycles.
Pranayama helps in restoring the balance of the nervous system achieving optimal relaxation of the mind and body. Keep practicing it regularly and attain the inner harmony and tranquillity for a better living.