Praṇayama is the practice of breath control in yoga. In modern yoga as exercise, it consists of synchronizing the breath with movements between body posture but is also a distinct breathing exercise on its own, usually practiced after sitting meditation pose. In texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and later in Hatha yoga texts, Praṇayama meant the complete cessation of breathing.
Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial for treating a range of stress-related disorders, such as anxiety. Although relatively safe, beginners should avoid advanced moves and exercise within their capabilities. Functional limitations should be taken into consideration. Four breathing exercises that could help you with your anxiety.
Best breathing techniques to treat anxiety
Dr. Weil 4-7-8 breath
This one is an extremely calming breathing technique. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, and release for 8 seconds.
Alternate nostril breathing
Bring your hand into a fist and release your thumb, ring finger, and pinky. Plug your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Plug your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale with your right nostril, plug it, and exhale with your left. Inhale left, exhale right. Do seven rounds of this.
Close your eyes, take a big inhalation, and each time you exhale, think of something that you’re thankful to have in your life.
It’s helpful to have your legs bent, so you can do this seated in a chair with good posture, or lying in bed with your knees bent. Take a big inhale and image that your belly is an umbrella. Open the umbrella as you inhale, filling your belly with air and feeling the ribs expand. Relax your pelvic floor. Keep your ribs down, and don’t let your chest puff out. As you exhale, push all of the air out of your belly, contracting your transverse abdomen and lifting your pelvic floor.
The bottom line
In short, anxiety, along with other stress-related disorders, can be treated with these specific breathing techniques. However, it requires time, but the outcome would most likely please you, boosting your wellbeing.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.