Breathing techniques to ease stress

Henrik-Purienne-photography-ShockBlast-51 @ ShockBlast
Photo: Courtesy of Henrik Purienne
 

Let’s admit, a lot of us are sleepless, burnt out, and stressed. We live in times where we feel pressure to be perfect, productive, and successful with our lives and sadly, it’s causing more anxiety than it should be.

The cure may just be this: mindfulness — and a lot of people swear by it (Oprah, Lady Gaga, Dakota Johnson, and Beyoncé, just to name a few). Meditation and using your breath techniques to calm your mind are tools that are within our reach at all times, we just need to learn how to tap into it.

Jay Shetty, a former monk and now motivational speaker and author, says mindful breathing should be a habit that we must learn to apply in our day-to-day lives. In his book, Think Like A Monk, he explains how breathing is one of the strongest pillars of our physical and mental being. He recalls in a 2018 interview,

“When you get angry, what changes? Your breath. 
When you get sad, what changes? Your breath. 
When you get happy, what changes? Your breath.
All of our greatest emotions in life are experienced through breath. If we learn to manage and navigate our breath as a starting priority then you will never be phased in life by any challenges that arise.”

 

It’s easy to start worrying, but in return we lose grip of the present moment. The first thing to do when you start feeling overwhelmed or stressed is to control your breathing. Allow yourself to clear your mind and redirect it back to the present. It can be anything, setting up your own space for reflection or going for a walk. Just generally being kind to your body can make the biggest difference.

Now, where to begin? Jay Shetty shares some easy breathing techniques from his book to start building your habit. 


To calm and relax yourself

  1. Breathe in for a count of 4 through your nose in your own time and pace.
  2. Hold for a count of 4
  3. Exhale for a count of 4 through your mouth


    Do for a total of ten breaths.

     
    For energy and focus (kapalabhati)

    1. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4
    2. Then exhale powerfully through your nose for less than a second (you will feel a sort of engine pumping in your lungs)
    3. Breathe in again through your nose for a count of 4

    Do this for a total of ten breaths.
     
    For sleep

    1. Breathe in for 4 seconds
    2. Exhale longer than 4 seconds 

    Do this until you are asleep or close to it.

     

     

    Excerpt from the book Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty. Available on Fully Booked and Amazon.

     

     

     

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