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Breathing to Help Manage Anxiety

by Stefanie Neuburger- CYI, RYT  

Your mind races with worry, your heart beat is out of control, your breath shortens – which makes you worry more. Your hear rate speeds up, you get less oxygen into your lungs – it’s a vicious cycle.  If you have ever had an anxiety or panic attack, you know how paralyzing this can feel.  Panic and anxiety are appropriate physical manifestations of fear, triggered at inappropriate times. By learning how to control your breathing during these times, you become more aware of your body, allowing you to better manage the situation.

Putting Pranayama Into Practice

The below breathing technique is a wonderful way to a) calm your breath b) give your mind something other than worry to focus on and c) connect with your heart.

  • Sit comfortably with your spine upright, place your palms face down onto your knees
  • Close your eyes and breathe normally for a few rounds, adjust posture if necessary
  • On your next inhale, lift your left hand roughly 6 inches off your knee, turn the palm open
  • On the exhale, gently place your palm on your heart
  • Inhale and lift the hand away from the heart again, palm open
  • Exhale and place your hand back onto your knee, face down
  • Repeat on the other side, then repeat full sequence until your heart rate returns to normal

The simplicity of this breath allows for it to be practiced almost anywhere. Anytime you feel even the slightest bit of anxiety arising, allow yourself a few minutes to sit with this breath and ultimately with yourself.

 

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