As a Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor, I am asked quite often about which techniques are best to reduce stress and still the mind. My first response is always the same, Deep Belly Breathing. Sure there are MANY techniques that will help you reduce your stress level and still the mind, but Deep Belly Breathing is by far the most simple. And when our stress levels run high, a fast and direct approach is greatly needed.
Many breathing exercises are taught by having you sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, or in seated cross legged with your eyes closed. For this Deep Belly Breath instruction, you can practice anywhere and at anytime, no centering or specific posture necessary. So please practice this on your yoga mat, at your desk, in your car, standing in line at the grocery store, or anytime you feel your stress level rising to the highest high.
Deep Belly Breathing
- Bring your awareness to your deep belly space, the space that sits in the pelvis, the space below the belly button.
- Bring the image of a red balloon into this space.
- As you inhale, direct the breath into the deep belly space, blowing up the red belly balloon.
- As you exhale, release the air from the red belly balloon and deep belly space.
- The shoulders, chest and upper back are nice and relaxed; the breath work is being done in the deep belly space.
- Keep your awareness on the belly, the inhale blowing up the red belly balloon and the exhale the air releasing from the red belly balloon.
- If you find your mind wandering, bring your focus right back to the belly and your red belly balloon.
You can set a timer for how long you would like to use the Deep Belly Breath, or you can tap into this breath whenever you need a break. As I said, this breathing technique can be used anywhere and at anytime. Practicing Deep Belly Breathing regularly throughout your day, especially in high stress times, you will see a transformation in your state of mind and hopefully a reduction in the stresses that creep into your life.
I wish you much success with Deep Belly Breathing and to a reduction of stress in your life!