Breathing exercises can help relieve stress in a number of ways. Here are 5 simple techniques that you can do everyday to stay clam and energised.
# 1 – Abdominal Breathing
Breathe in through your nose until your lungs begin to stretch. Exhale slowly. Repeat for 10 minutes. This is the most basic of all breathing exercises, and can be performed any time during your day. Try mastering this before you move on to more complex techniques.
# 2 – Alternate Nostril Breathing
Hold down one nostril, and breathe in. At peak inhalation, switch nostril and exhale. Repeat. This technique is also known as nadi shodhana, and has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, where it is believed to balance out the two hemispheres of the brain.
# 3 – 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath
Place the tongue behind the top of the upper front teeth. Inhale for 4 seconds. Hold for 7 seconds and exhale fully for 8 seconds. Repeat. This technique is believed to be very effective for dealing with stress and anxiety, and for eliciting a sense of relaxation and calm. Try it before you go to sleep.
# 4 – Stillness In Breath
Notice the space between your breaths and breathe in and out. Focus your mind on this gap for as long as possible. As this is the opposite of what you might naturally do, it may take some practice master. You might want to start your day with this technique, or take regular breaks during the day to practice it.
# 5 – Stimulating Breath
Breathe rapidly through the nose with short breaths (mouth closed) for 15 seconds. Rest. Repeat. This should be a noisy exercise, so do it somewhere you feel comfortable. Aim for three in-out cycles a second and remember to breathe normally when you are resting. As you progress, try the technique for longer durations (aim for a minute).