Are you stressed? Holy cow but we’ve had some major stress in our lives lately. We have a friend named Danika who is a yoga instructor. Heather asked her to teach us how to breathe with yoga to help us all de-stress. I can really use this and I know there are lots of other people who can as well. So, without further a-do, let’s get to learning.
I live in Melbourne Beach, Florida by the sea with my two children. They attend a hybrid model school where I homeschool them 2 days a week and they are in a Christian private school 2 days a week. I love to travel with them and bring my yoga mat with me wherever I go. I love the calm, the strength, the stretch, the freedom, humility and confidence I have learned from yoga.
In life, with my faith and with my yoga practice – there is always more to learn, and share. As you live and learn more, you realize how much more you still have to learn! There is never mastery, always practice. I am humbly enjoying the adventure!
Our constantly-connected coffee culture has led to more stress-related illnesses than ever. The most effective yoga pose to get rid of stress? Just breathe.
From the Yogi
Pranayama is the yoga term for active breathing. Pranayama comes from the sanskrit words Prana (life force) and yama (control). With correct breathing you are controlling your life force – wow! Pretty powerful!
Just the facts
Breath is the most important aspect of your yoga practice.
Benefits of deep, controlled breathing include reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure and heart rate, increased ability to focus and handle stress; increase core strength and lung capacity.
Find a yoga class and qualified teacher to guide you in pranayama techniques.
Make it work for you
Lay on your back with knees slightly bent, feet hip distance apart; or sit up straight in a supportive chair. Take a few moments to notice the quality of your breath. Is your breath calm? shallow? steady? uneven? Just observe without judgement. Close your eyes and mouth, breathing through your nose. Place one hand on your belly button. Observe the rest of your body, releasing tension from your head, face, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, feet, etc. Take a few minutes to focus on each area of your body. Lower your shoulders away from your ears. Tilt your tailbone towards your heels – this will automatically pull your navel in towards your spine and engage your core muscles. (Engaging your core helps to alleviate lower back pain as well.) With your eyes closed, mentally follow your breath in through your nose, down your throat and into your lungs. Breathing deeply, fill up the bottom, then middle, then top of your lungs. Feel your low belly fill up first, then your ribs should expand, and lastly, your upper chest should rise. Pause and hold for 3 seconds. SLOWLY release your breath and allow your lungs to empty. Near the end of the exhale, use your abdominal muscles to gently expell the last bit of air out of your lungs – think belly button to your spine. Hold with empty lungs for 3 seconds. Again, SLOWLY release any effort and allow the air to flow back into your lungs.
As the air fills your lungs, imagine it filling up your entire body, from your toes to your head, bringing fresh oxygen, light and healing to all parts of you. As you exhale, get rid of all negative thoughts and anxiety. Inhale peace, exhale discomfort.
Repeat for 10 rounds. Then breathe normally with your eyes closed for another minute, paying attention to how your body feels, to any new sensations.
First thing in the morning – do this in bed before you even sit up.
Try this exercise any time you are feeling anxious, stressed, angry, overwhelmed; if you need to focus, or are tired.
You can try this with your eyes open when driving, in a meeting, standing in line, talking to your kids.
At bedtime – this is the perfect way to wind down after a busy day or if you are have trouble falling asleep.
Inhale, exhale. Repeat as needed. No prescription needed.
Thank you so much Danika to teaching us how to breathe correctly. We are so happy that you joined!