Monday, January 27, 2020

Instantly Reduce Stress And Anxiety

I am no stranger when it comes to feeling emotion, in fact, it's more often that I'm feeling an emotion so intensely that it actually takes a physical presence in my body. That knot-in-your-stomach feeling, a tightening of the chest and throat - it can be debilitating! 

It always seems to come at the worst times too, doesn't it? Right before doing some kind of major task, or while just sitting in your chair at work; it may even creep up on you while you are alone at home relaxing.

Before I got into yoga and meditation it always bothered me when people would tell me to "just breathe" when I began to feel overwhelmed with emotion - like didn't they think I knew that breathing was important? Even when I started regularly doing yoga and meditation it was mentioned enough times to know that the breath is supposed to stabilize you.

So, much to my frustration, when I was feeling overwhelmed and filled with anxiety I would take some slow, deep breaths but nothing happened. I was still riddled with worry and feeling anxious so I must have been doing something wrong, right? Now not only was I stressed, but I was getting stressed about being stressed.

There had to be something...

I am forever grateful for having been introduced to Nadi Shodhana: Alternate Nostril Breathing because this breathing technique works instantly! There have been many times where my emotions have been so overwhelming but by simply practicing this technique I was able to get past that emotional wave and continue on. Because I value this technique so much I'm here to share it with you!

To begin, make sure you find a space that you are comfortable in. If you have to, turn off your phone so that you won't be disturbed - honestly setting aside time for yourself can be the hardest part. Find a comfortable, seated position. (I sometimes will sit on a yoga block or bolster just to raise my hips a little more) but if you do not have either of these things you can also sit on a pillow or right on the floor. The key here is getting comfy! 

With one hand relaxed on your knee or thigh create a "hang loose" sign with your other hand keeping out the thumb and pinky finger. Take a moment and see if this grip works for you. Experiment using the thumb and another finger as long as you have two digits ready to use. One being the thumb, the other whichever you feel most comfortable with.

Take a full deep breath in through both nostrils and fully exhale that breath out. On the next breath in, hold your hand in front of your face as if you're going to kiss your knuckles and using the thumb, press against one nostril sealing it closed. Breathe in through the open nostril. At the top of the breath, hold it in and remove the thumb. Now use the other finger you chose *pinky for me* and seal the opposite nostril. Slowly release the breath through the alternate nostril.

With the second finger still on the nostril, breathe through the open nostril. Hold the breath at the top, release the second finger and now plug the first nostril again with your thumb. Slowly release the breath through the opposite nostril.

Continue to breathe this way for several rounds. Breathe in, hold the breath at the top, switch fingers, and breathe out. Always switching fingers at the top of the breath. Nadi Shodhana helps to balance out the mind and body and brings us back to a place of peace. The concentration and focus on this breathing technique takes us away from the mind chatter and worry that caused the stress in the first place.

I encourage you to face your emotions head-on. They will not be going anywhere and you will have to deal with emotions on a daily basis. Some emotions will be great and some will be not so great. But whatever the emotion is, it will pass. Let this serve as a reminder that you are human and it is okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed sometimes. Our focus should not be on never experiencing stress - because this will not be achieved.  Instead, our focus should be on how we can best handle it when the inevitable emotions come up.

I truly hope this technique helps you! If you find that it did, share it with your friends and family that you think may also benefit from this practice.

Take care my friends - Namaste

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