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Destress with Pranayama

Destress with Pranayama

Breathing is something most of us take for granted. It’s something our body does instinctively, and usually not something we spend much time thinking about. Did you know chronic conditions such as stress, anxiety and panic disorder have a direct link to our breathing? When we are scared, anxious and panicking, our body reacts in multiple ways, and our pattern of breathing changes. We can learn to control how we feel and react in times of stress by simply learning how to control our breathing.

Pranayama, or breath control, is one of the fundamental techniques used in yoga and meditation. The goal of pranayama is to strength the connection between body and mind. Research suggests that this practice can promote relaxation and mindfulness and is also proven to support multiple aspects of mental health including lung function, blood pressure and brain function.

This ancient breathing technique involves controlling the timing, duration and frequency of every breath and hold. Implementing a breathing technique into your morning routine can be a positive way to start off your day. You can also use any of these techniques throughout the day in times of stress. These are:

  • Alternate nostril breathing (nadishodhana)
  • Victorious breath (ujjayi)
  • Female honeybee humming breath (bhramari)
  • Bellows breath (bastika)

These breathing exercises can be practiced in many ways, such as during yoga practice, in meditation or even when you have some time alone and need to relax.

This practice has many benefits, such as:

  • Decreased stressed
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Increasing mindfulness
  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Improving lung function
  • Enhancing cognitive performance

Part of managing stress is realizing that most things that make us feel stressed or anxious, our outside of our control. What is in our control, however, is the way we handle stressful situations. Learning to control our breathing in times of panic can be an incredibly beneficial way to both reduce panic and anxiety attacks as well as duration of these attacks. If we can remember that we are in control of how our body reacts to situations, stop and breathe, we can learn to better manage these types of attacks brought on by outside influences.