If you’re looking for more ‘ZEN’ during the lockdown, yoga is not only a great all over body workout, but it’s particularly good for your mental health too, with yoga breathing and meditation a core element of yoga. Yoga breathing exercises are not only beneficial for centring your body and mind but also to help with anxiety. In this blog, our Beauty PR Team take a look at five fabulous yoga breathing exercises that you can try during self-isolation and beyond.
Pursed Lips Breathing
This is a great exercise to help reduce shortness in breath and to help release the air trapped in the lungs. To practice this yoga breathing exercise, close your mouth and breathe in through your nose and count to two. Purse your lips as if blowing out a candle and slowly breathe out through your lips while mentally counting to four. Try practising a few times a day.
We love this yoga breathing technique and its easy to incorporate into your everyday. First, find a quiet location and comfortable position and focus on how it feels when you inhale and exhale normally. Think about your body in this exercise. Mentally check every part of your body, starting from the top of your head and working your way through your body to pick up any tightness and release the tension. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, and then exhale the breath in the same equal length of the breath. Do this several times, paying attention to the rise and fall of your tummy. Choosing a word such as the word ‘calm’ to focus on and vocalize on your exhale breath out can also help. The key to this exercise is to imagine a wave of relaxation washing over you on your inhale breathe, and your exhale breath releases any negative thoughts or energy away from you. Practice this exercise daily for a least 20 minutes, and it’s a fabulous exercise to use whenever you feel anxious. It will also you more aware of any tension you are harbouring in your body.
You can do this yoga breathing exercise standing, sitting or even lying down. Taking lots of deep breathes doesn’t always calm you down, but taking a long breath out does influence our body’s ability to relax and calm down. Before you make a big, deep breath in, go for a big exhale instead. Push all the air out of your lungs, then allow your lungs to fill by inhaling air as they would do naturally. The next stage is to try adding a little longer onto your exhale breath than you do when inhaling. E.g., try inhaling for four seconds, then exhaling for six. Try this for two to five minutes.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Did you know that most of us will only breath out of one nostril at a time? What is super interesting is that which nostril you breathe out can really affect your body and brain. There have been quite a few studies that have shown that each nostril can affect blood levels and even how much oxygen you use! Practising alternating your nostril breathing is said to help restore the balance in your body and mind. To do this exercise, sit in an upright and comfortable position. Press your index finger against the side of your nose to block one nostril of air on the inhale breath and ahead of your exhale, release your finger and repeat on the opposite nostril and release the breath. Repeat several times.
This is also known as coherent breathing and can help you get into a more relaxed state of mind. Lying down, close your eyes and gently breathe in through your nose with your mouth closed for six seconds. Don’t go for a big deep breath, just a gentle breath and exhale gently for six seconds, and allow your breath to leave your body slowly and gently. Do this exercise for up to 10 minutes and bring yourself slowly back to into the room before sitting back up and standing.