Follow These Breathing Exercises to Fight Depression in 15 Mintues
Feel Calm, Focus the Mind, Increase Awareness, Lower Blood Pressure
Sleeping poorly, feeling overworked, handling too much stress? Don’t wait until you can’t take life anymore before turning to the ancient yoga practice of controlled breathing exercises. These exercises not only channel your energy into harmonious patterns across the body, but they lower blood pressure, promote peace and calm, and help reduce depression and anxiety. The NIH supports relaxation techniques including breathing exercises.
Even though controlled clinical trials have not studied the effects of breathing exercises, hundreds of ancient and contemporary documents report the multiple health benefits of focused breathing. For the people who practice yoga, they believe that breathing exercises increase awareness and mindfulness. From your desk, car, or home, you can steal five minutes out of your day to align the mind with the body through these wonderful breathing exercises:
Prānāyāma is a Sanskrit word meaning “extension of the prāna or breath” or “extension of the life force”. The word is composed of two Sanskrit words: “Prana”, known as life force, and “ayāma”, to extend or draw out. Many people claim that Pranayama techniques enhance judgement, will-power, and inner perception. Researchers believe these breathing exercises help manage stress-related disorders, reduce negative energy, and enhance autonomic bodily functions like blood pressure. Always inhale through the nose.
Equal Breathing – Sama Vritti Pranayama – Inhaling and Exhaling of Equal Duration
Benefits: Lowers blood pressure and calms the mind
Sama Vritti Pranayama, or Equal Breathing, is a focusing of the mind through breathing by inhaling for the same amount of time as exhaling. As one of many forms of Pranayama (“extension of life force”), this breathing exercise offers a relatively simple introduction to the art of controlled breathing.
How It's Done
2. Calmly inhale for four counts, then calmly exhale for an equal duration of four counts. Repeat for two rounds.
3. Calmly inhale for six counts, then calmly exhale for an equal duration of six counts. Repeat for four rounds.
4. If you have any nervous energy then calmly inhale for eight counts, then calmly exhale for an equal duration of eight counts. Repeat for six rounds.
5. You are now coming down the mountain. Reduce your breathing to six counts for four rounds.
6. Reduce your breathing to four counts for two rounds.
Finishing: Now sit calmly, returning your breathing to its normal state. Feel your body in harmony, and your mind in a state of calm.
Abdominal Breathing – Adham Pranayama – Breathing From the Belly
Benefits: Relieves stressful emotions locked in the belly
Adham Pranayama, or Abdominal Breathing, is the technique among breathing exercises that emphasizes stomach relaxation throughout the breathing cycle. The stomach is relaxed and allowed to expand as the person inhales, and passively contract as the person exhales.
How It's Done
2. Begin by breathing out slowly. Notice how your palms feel your chest and abdomen contract. Your navel moves towards your spine.
3. After exhaling, wait for three counts with very little air in your lungs.
4. Now begin slowly inhaling keeping your shoulders still. Allow your stomach to rise and expand without moving your chest.
5. After inhaling fully, hold your breath for three counts.
6. Exhale again completely. Wait for three counts, then repeat the process. Go through three full cycles of inhaling and exhaling.
Finishing: Now move your hands to your lower back and rest them with fingers pointing towards your spine. Focus on each breath and how your lungs and stomach work together.
Humming Bee Breathing – Bhramari Pranayama – Making a Hum While Exhaling
Benefits: Creates a rhythm of life within, pushing anxiety out
Bhramari Pranayama, or Humming Bee Breath, is a soothing meditative technique among breathing exercises that restores serenity through inward focus. By creating a humming sound, the body improves it’s sense of harmony and security, allowing anxiety and toxic energy to flow out by creating a rhythm of life within.
How It's Done
2. While sitting upright, slowly place your index finger of each hand on the lobe of each ear and press gently. Relax you face, then neck, then back.
3. Pause for a minute and bring your awareness to the power centers in your abdomen, then chest, then face, then the top of your head.
4. Now begin slowly inhaling, hold your full breath for a few counts, and as your exhale slowly make a hum sound with the mouth closed. This is one sound.
5. Repeat inhaling slowly and exhaling with a humming sound ten times.
6. Bring attention to the sound slowly leaving your body. Create a longer inhalation and longer exhalation with each repetition.
Finishing: After the breathing exercise, sit quietly and bring awareness to your clear mind, emotional peace, and inner solitude. Focus on them for a minute with eyes closed.