Just breathe – Calming breaths for anxious minds

Sinéad McKiernan
By Sinéad McKiernan
Founder of Love Yoga and teaches Hatha Yoga classes, retreats and workshops in Galway and throughout Ireland. She studied Yoga Teaching in India and welcomes all ages and levels to her classes. For more information go to loveyoga.eu or find her on Twitter @sineadloveyoga

Try to take a full deep breath in through your nose, fill your lungs up and exhale out through your mouth and feel a big release. Try this a few more times and you feel more relaxed instantly.

Breathing slowly and deeply can calm your mind and make your body feel more relaxed in just a few moments. You will probably notice your posture change slightly too. Our minds, bodies and breath are all connected and when we bring our awareness to that, you will start to feel a lot more relaxed and focused.

Feeling anxious is not a nice feeling, it creates fear in our minds and bodies. If we don’t take action against anxiety, it can lead to tension and stress in our bodies and this can then develop into illness. The best way to take action against anxiety is to breathe. A beautiful tool that we can use whenever we want. Our breath can calm us down naturally and make us feel whole and connected again.

This is a calming breathing technique that takes you out of your busy mind. The more you practice, the easier it becomes and the stronger the benefits. Find somewhere quiet to sit and make yourself warm and comfortable. Sit with on the floor or a chair with a straight spine and allow your shoulders and arms to relax. Wriggle or shake out any tension in the body and relax the muscles in the face. You can even smile softly to yourself to allow the jaw to relax. Start to tune into your breath, taking deep breaths in and out through your nose. Take a few deep breaths to begin and then we will inhale to the count of 5 and exhale to the count of 7. After a few moments of this timing, we will bring attention to the gap or retention in between the breath. The timing will slightly change to the count of 5-1-7-1.

The more you practice, the more natural it will feel and you may no longer have to keep count. It will feel more soothing and nourishing each time you practice. Try to sneak it in throughout your day, even moments where you may not feel particularly anxious. Allow your mind and body to get used to this slower breathing technique and you will be able to calm yourself down a lot quicker when you really do need it. The key is to get out of your busy mind. We create our own thoughts. Our worries and anxieties may be amplified in our minds. Pay attention to your thoughts, as we know thoughts become feelings. Breathe deeply and it will serve you well.

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