Breathing the Right Way During Stressful Times
We have discussed various aspects of masks, tips on staying safe while exercising in open areas as well as gyms, etc., etc., but haven’t we missed the most important thing – Breathing. The way we breathe affects our entire body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress which seems like a distant dream in these pandemic times.
Each & everyone, the world over, is affected by the Corona Virus and are under tremendous stress in adapting to “THE NEW NORMAL”. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. An oft-overlooked way to ease it is by breathing right. Breathing exercises helps in relaxing the body and are very easy to learn and adapt to. We enlist some of such exercises for relaxation and relieve stress do try and see which one suits the most.
The 4 7 8
This involves inhaling deeply through the nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds and exhale through the nose for 8 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times to help steady the nervous system and clear the mind. It also boost concentration. FOR BEST RESULTS – Aim the breath deep into the stomach. Hold the hands on the stomach, to feel it swelling up as one breathes in. Allow the lungs to empty, then breathe deeply into the stomach while counting to 7. Breathe out gently, when you reach 7, to the count of 11. Repeat for two to three minutes or until one feels calm and relaxed.
The Wim Hof Method
This technique is named after a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He advocates cycles of controlled hyperventilation, extended exhalations and breath-holding, combined with exposure to cold, and meditation. The aim is to trigger positive immune system changes, with potential benefits it for the body and mind.
The Buteyko Method
In 1957, a Ukrainian doctor named Konstantin Buteyko observed that people battling anxiety and sleep disorders often breathed through the mouths, using the upper chest more predominantly, and with a respiratory rate and volume greater than normal. This method involves slow breathing and breath holds following an exhalation, the objective being to take less air into the lungs. This has been found to ease feelings of anxiety and stress.
This technique involves breathing at a fast rate for a few minutes at a time. Studies have shown holotropic breath work combined with psychotherapy can significantly reduce anxiety. Music is an important part of this exercise as it creates an added layer of cognitive ease. This method is advisable, however, only for the physically fit, under medical supervision.
Try this exercise in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with knees slightly bent, letting the arms dangle close to the floor. Inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting the head last. Hold the breath for just a few seconds in this standing position. Exhale slowly and return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.
The fear of corona virus won’t evaporate overnight, so stay calm & relaxed, breathe right & remain healthy!!!