CALM YOUR MIND AND BODY TO OVERCOME STRESS AND ANXIETY WITH YOGA BREATHING
There can be so many stressors in our lives to manage. Juggling work, family and various social and voluntary commitments can sometimes become overwhelming. We all have moments when we feel frustrated, uptight, angry or anxious; I certainly do! These feelings are very unpleasant and can harm our mental and physical health if they frequently occur and hover like a heavy dark cloud.
Practising self-care is vital, especially if your life revolves around taking care of others. Try the following simple techniques to calm and centre your mind:
- Find a quiet and peaceful place to sit or lie down, where you can let go of tension and allow your body and mind to be completely relaxed.
- Light a soy-scented candle or put a few drops of essential oil into a diffuser (I love lavender or bergamot with lemon myrtle)
- Once you have settled yourself in your calming position, close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the mental count of four and exhale mindfully through your nose to the mental count of four. Fill your lungs completely including the belly, the ribcage and the chest and empty the lungs completely when you exhale. Practising yoga Pranayama helps us let go of ‘mental chatter’ and tension.
- Try to draw your senses inwards by noticing your ribs expand to the sides as you breathe in, and then bring your attention to your breath passing over your top lip as you exhale, maintaining conscious awareness of your breath.
- If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back by noticing the rise and fall of your belly and the sound and sensation of your breath.
- To stay centred, it can help to listen to calming meditation music, which you can download from iTunes, Spotify or YouTube Music.
- If possible, practice this technique for ten minutes or longer when you need to calm yourself down or perhaps regularly, scheduling time in your calendar for this mindful and centring self-care practice.
- Notice the changes in your mood at the end of your practice.
“Breath is the king of mind”B.K.S. Iyengar
There are eight limbs of Yoga. Pranayama (Yoga breathing techniques) is the fourth limb. By practising pranayama, you are essentially practising Yoga. Pranayama is also used during a Yoga class while holding a pose (asana) and during final relaxation at the end of the session (savasana).
“The primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity and peace, and free it from confusion and distress”B.K.S. Iyengar
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