For decades people have used yoga breathing poses to reduce anxiety and stress. Anxiety causes fear and loss of sleep which affects your health. Yoga breathing not only serves as a natural remedial process for anxiety but also increases gamma-amino butruic acid (GABA), a chemical in the brain that influences mood and anxiety states The Wellesley College.
You may not even realize when your body is breathing shallowly. A shallow breathing increases stress pulse giving rise to anxiety. Anxiety also creates mini hyperventilation state within our bodies that disturbs our emotions and breathing patterns. As a result, you breathe at a rapid pace.
Yogic breathing for anxiety focuses on major areas of your body that hold tension, loosening up the body from tensing.
Yoga breathing Techniques
Yogic breathing for anxiety functions like meditation, helping to concentrate on breath and simultaneously clearing your mind from racing thoughts.
Double Nostrils Pose
One of the yoga breathing posesthat serves as a shield against anxiety is switching nostrils. Compose yourself in a comfortable and upright position. Place your thumb over the right nostril and breathe in from the left uncovered nostril. Remove thumb from right nostril. Now to exhale, do the opposite, cover the left nostril by placing your thumb and exhale breath from right nostril.
You must be amazed with this new style of breathing, the fact is your left nostril connects to parasympathetic nervous system (also known as PNS) which is one of the two main divisions of the automatic nervous system (ANS).
PNS is responsible for stimulating rest, digestion, feed and breed activities when body is at rest. On the contrary, the right nostril connects to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). SNS is responsible for mobilizing body’s nervous system fight or flight response.
Mostly known for its name “bumble bee breathing” is one of the yoga breathing techniques that requires pauses while inhaling and exhaling breath. Sit upright, positioning your chest and shoulders straight and relaxed. Now inhale through your stomach until you feel the lungs are full, hold breath for three seconds and slowly exhale. When exhaling use the tongue to create a bee buzzing sound.
Conscious Breathing Pose
Conscious breathing involves expanding lungs and diaphragm without involving your shoulders. Relax and seat yourself in an upright position. Place right hand on your chest and the other on your belly. By closing your eyes, start breathing normally, be attentive to your breathing rate, notice the expansion and contraction of chest. The air should penetrate the lungs completely when inhaling.
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, supported by the National Institutes of Health states increase in GABA levels of people practicing yoga exercises. In a nutshell, your breath is controlled by respiratory center of the brain. But you can easily bypass your breath rate by consciously taking control of it. The control over breathing helps in calming anxiety transforming it into a state of peace.
Yoga breathing techniques can help reduce and even prevent risks for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Installing yoga breathing patterns in your arsenal leads to improved range of motion, strength, flexibility and improved balance.
As always consult your yoga therapist/practitioner before adopting any breathing techniques into your everyday life. Happy breathing!