What is Stress?
In simple terms, stress may be defined as the body’s response to anything that requires attention or any change that causes emotional, physical, or psychological strain. Stress is a normal human reaction, produced as a mental and physical response when one experiences certain changes or challenges. These responses help the body adjust to new changes and cope with them.
While stress may prove positive in keeping us alert and ready to face any situation, it may become a problem when the body cannot cope with the stressors. Each one of us experiences stress to some degree. However, the way one responds to stress makes a huge difference to their overall well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a clear understanding of how stress affects one’s physical and mental health.
What is Yogic Breathing?
Breathing is not just about sustaining life; it is the very essence of life. The body, mind and breath are connected intimately with each other and have a deep influence on each other. Our state of mind influences the way we breathe, and this, in turn, influences our thoughts and physiology. Yogic breathing advocated various stress relief breathing exercises with a positive impact on both our body and mind.
Yoga believes in breathing to relieve stress. Yoga has employed several stress relief breathing exercises for thousands of years to maintain, balance and restore physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Achieved through controlled respiration, yoga breathing exercises for stress has several benefits. The stress relief breathing exercises calm both the nervous system and the exhausted mind. The breathing techniques to reduce stress works in a timed way where the exhalation is longer than the inhalation. This reduces the fight or flight response and activates the relaxation response. Therefore, yoga recommends regulated breathing to reduce stress and uplift overall mood.
Who Should Perform Yogic Breathing?
Yogic stress relief breathing exercises have the potential to transform the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state. Breathing for stress reduction is evident in managing anger
issues, relieving anxiety, curing insomnia, increasing concentration, and easing pressure. People looking to connect with their inner calm and spiritual peace should adopt these stress relief breathing exercises.
How Yogic Breathing reduces Stress?
Yogic deep breathing to reduce stress is helpful in calming down a stressed body and mind. This is because when you take a deep breath, it sends a signal to the brain to calm down and relax. The brain sends this message to the body. All the stress symptoms such as elevated heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure decrease as you continue the yoga breathing exercises for anxiety and stress relief meditation
. Daily practice of yogic breathing along with meditation sleep
, and mediation focus
exercises are enough for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
List of Breathing exercises to reduce stress.
Deep Belly Breathing
A technique of deep breathing to relieve stress by sending the breath to the belly.
Deep belly breathing targets the largest cranial nerve in the body, which soothes the brain's stress response.
Rest the hand son the belly and breathe in deep, sending the breath all the way from the chest towards the belly and then exhale.
Do this a few times while practising yoga breathing exercises for anxiety or stress relief.
It is one of the beginner-friendly breathing exercises to reduce stress.
Focus on extending the exhalation so that it is longer than the inhalation.
Count the lengths of the inhales and exhales to achieve balance.
This activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduced anxiety and stress.
Kapalbhati is a brilliant yogic breathing exercise to reduce stress.
Start these stress relief breathing exercises by taking a deep inhalation through the nose and exhaling via the nose, keeping the mouth closed.
Inhale again and, this time, begin exhaling by pulling the lower abs to force the air out in short spurts.
The inhalation is passive between each active and quick exhalation.
Aim for 20-30 breaths, take few deep or normal breaths in between and then go for another round of breathing exercises to reduce stress.
Dos & Don’ts
Yogic Breathing helps overcome stress and anxiety with regular practice. With just 5 minute meditations
and breathing exercises daily, one can achieve tremendous results. But faulty practice of such breathing exercises will invite trouble instead of benefits. Irritability, heaviness, and restlessness indicate incorrect measures, and one should follow certain cautions to avoid such issues:
Try and practise yogic breathing every day around the same time.
Practice the breathing exercises with an empty bladder and bowels.
Yogic breathing should be practised in light and comfortable clothing.
Perform the breathing exercises in a well-ventilated room with enough light and fresh air.
Do not practice yogic breathing in a hurry or when the chest feels congested.
Do not continue further if the chest feels heavy or the breathing sound becomes harsh and rough.
Yogic breathing should not be performed immediately after eating or when you feel hungry.
Sudden movements should be avoided, and breathing should be controlled.