Usually I wake up feeling alert, rested and ready for my day. Today I didn’t. I woke up feeling sad and anxious. As I lay in bed pondering why I felt this way I could feel myself sinking deeper into despair. My mind was in turmoil –overdrive mode…it felt like a colony of ants were engulfing my space and threatening to overspill onto my duvet.
I panicked as I remembered days of old when every morning felt like this. Days when I longed to hide away and stay prisoner to my pain. Not any more. I now know what to do to shake away the blues, regain my focus and feel better.
How I Regain My Calm
I consciously take a steady breath in and breathe out. Rather then give in to the frantic ants I lay my hands on my belly and feel my belly rise and fall with each clear breath. Peace returns and it became easier for me to, feel hopefully and get on with my life.
Have you ever been in a similar situation?
Confused, unsure and scared? From experience I know how hard it can be to regain control of your thoughts and experience inner peace and calm.
Many of my yoga students come to yoga as a way to find a cure. A solution to the pressures and demands of daily life. At first I thought it was only working mums who felt pressure and strain. But over the years I have taught teenagers, dads, single professionals and even retired professors who all report that “stress” is killing them. They feel as if they are on a treadmill and for ever spending time in catch-up mode. Students studying for college and end of year exams sense the pressures and expectations from their parents to do well. Dads feel the pressure to be a “modern sensitive caring dad.” Elders and retired professionals query the meaning of their life and seek yoga as a way to strengthen their resolve to feel healthier and get more out of life.
It seems as if stress knows no boundaries. Is irreverent to class, age, religion, faith or social standing. Everyone is affected. The American Medical Association stated that stress was the cause of 80 to 85 percent of all human illness and disease.
Furthermore, every week 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress related symptom for which they take medication.
Figures like that freak me out. It is so easy to run yourself ragged and not look after yourself.
That’s why I love yoga, teaching yoga or even writing about it. Yoga works. Yoga offers you simple tools and techniques to manage your stress. It empowers you to let-go of worries and; experience calm, certainty and clarity – even in troubled times.
Would you like to feel better, happier, less-stressed-out, more in control of your life-balance?
Fear and anxiety creates stress. When you are stressed you fail to produce your best. If you continue to worry, your work suffers, relationships become fragmented and your health deteriorates.
Learning how to recognise and manage your stress levels is essential to help you achieve your life goals and heart desires. If you are looking for a quick yet long lasting cure to manage your stress try yoga breathing exercises.
Three Yoga Breathing Exercises To The Rescue
The practice of Yogic breathing exercises offers you a way to move through your worries and anxieties and manage your life in a more peaceful and balanced way.
The following three yoga breathing exercises can easily be practiced lying down in bed. They are the ones my students regularly say help them release stress and tension.
One: Watch The Breath
Lay down (or sit comfortably in bed), close your eyes and become aware of how you are breathing. Don’t change your breathe, just be present and observe the movement of air in and out through your nose.
Allow your breath to find its own natural rhythm and continue to listen and observe your breathe for two minutes.
When you practice this tip, at first you may find it hard to concentrate on your breathe. Don’t worry. Whenever your mind wanders, or you lose concentration, just return to observing your breath.
Two: Diaphragmatic Breathing
You can practice diaphragmatic breathing lying down on your back on your bed, sitting comfortably in a chair or even standing up. Place one hand gently on your upper chest, the other hand on your belly. Relax your belly and chest. Keep your mouth closed. Breathe in through your nose and feel your belly, rising up expanding, then feel the ribcage rising and finally the upper chest. As you exhale, feel the belly sink down.
Practice five to seven rounds of diaphragmatic breathing then slowly open your eyes, be still for a few moments till you feel ready to gently re-engage with your day.
Three: Lion Roar.
Although not technically a traditional pranayama exercise, the Lion Roar is a firm favourite breathing exercise with my yoga students to release frustration and the build up of anxiety and stress.
Sit or stand comfortably, scrunch your face up, like a dried prune. Open your eyes look upwards; open your mouth, stretch out your tongue and Roarrrrrr like a lion. Repeat until you feel powerful, calm and in control.
Stress Free Tip:
Next time, you feel stressed, overwhelmed and have loads of things to do, choose one of the above breathing practice tips and feel the difference it makes to your day.
I would love you to try out one of these yoga breathing exercises and feedback which one works best for you.
Namaste and Thank You for slowing down and breathing.