When we feel stressed and overwhelmed we feel like nothing can help us to relive it. But it is important to know that our breath can play a major role to deal with stress. Pranayama or breathwork helps calm the system, improve mindfulness and presence of mind and build more resilience to stressful situations. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School says that yoga practices can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression.
So, here is our 3 top breathwork recommendations demonstrated by Shvasa's senior teacher, that can instantly help you manage stress and anxiety!
Stress can be addressed through different means and practices. The breath is one of the best tools to address stress, in this video I will show you the three top most breath exercises to overcome the stress, let's get started.
The first practice in this video is Nadi Shodhana also called Alternate Nostril Breathing, for that left hand in mudra, right hand in nasa mudra, folding your index and middle finger into the centre of the palm using the thumb and the ring finger to close the right and left nostril. Close the right nostril with the right thumb, gently inhale from the left nostril, close the left nostril with the ring finger, exhale through the right nostril, inhale from right nostril, close the right with the thumb, exhale through left nostril. This is one cycle we'll do two more cycles of such practice.
Inhale from left again, close the left with the ring finger, exhale through right, inhale from right, exhale through left.
Last one more round- Inhale from left, close the left, exhale through right, inhale from right, exhale through left. Now you can release the hand, that was nadi shodhana we did three rounds and you can practice this for five minutes with either eyes closed or open. After five minutes, you can take a short break and observe the breath.
The second practice in this video is Bhramhari or Hummingbird sound. For this we're going to keep the mouth closed and make a sound like a humming honeybee. Like this, I will just show you the sound first. You're going to breathe in, hummm, this is the sound. The sound has to be soft, gentle and long, for that we are going to close the ears with the thumb. You should not put the entire thumb into the ear, you have a soft lobe and you need to press that lobe gently into the ear, other rest of the fingers can rest on the head. You need to practice five rounds. Gently press your ears, so that you can't hear any other sounds after you close. Let's do it, closing your ears with your thumb, rest of the fingers resting on the head. Inhale, Hummm (5x)…
Once you finish five rounds, release your hands observe the headspace and gently open your eyes. We did five rounds of Brahmari, this also you can do it for five minutes, keeping eyes closed, after that release your hands just observe the headspace.
The third and the last practice for stress management is Prana Mudra. This is done with the hand and the breath movement, you need to bring your palms towards the stomach, it's not touching the body. Fingers close to each other, not touching. As you inhale, you're going to raise arms towards the chest, towards your face, eyebrow center and open up your arms without straightening them, look up gently. As you exhale, close your arms towards the face, not touching, towards the chest and back to where you have started, your stomach. Inhale raise your arms close to the body, but not touching, open your arms gently, not straightening, as you exhale, bring it back towards the face, chest and the stomach. The last one, inhale, raise your arms towards the chest, face look up gently, not dropping the head back completely, exhale, bring it back towards the chest and the stomach. Release your hands, we did three rounds. This also you can do it for five minutes, on initial days you can do it with eyes open as you get comfortable with it and sure about the hand movement, not going far from the body you can do it with eyes closed.
We have just seen how to do these three best breath exercises to overcome stress, you can practice these once or twice in a day, ideally morning and evening. Choose a quiet place sit in a cross leg position- like this, or you can sit on a chair, not a metal chair preferably, for best results practice it regularly. I wish you all the best for your practice, keep practicing, see you around, thank you.
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