Breathing exercise is a very effective method to reduce stress and anxiety. When you are stressed or having a panic attack, your body tends to breathe faster out of reflects. Excessive oxygen can make you feel suffocated and in return, creates more stress and panic.

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Here are 5 breathing exercise techniques to help you feel calmer and more relaxed:

1. Diaphragmatic breathing

The most important thing about this technique is to properly use the diaphragm breathe. Here are how you do diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent. You can put a pillow under your knees
  • Place one hand on the upper abdomen just below the chest
  • Place the other hand on the chest
  • Breathe in slowly through the nose and tighten the abdominal muscles
  • The hand on the chest should stay still
  • Feel the stomach rises with the other as you inhale and vice versa

2. Lion’s breath

Lion’s breath or Simhasana Pranayama is a well-known yoga breathing technique that helps relieve stress. If this is the first time you’re trying the technique, do not fret. Here are how to properly do the lion’s breath exercise:

  • Sit with your knees folded in, so your glutes are on top of the feet
  • Place the palm of your hands on your kneecaps with your fingers spread
  • Breath in deeply through your nose while keeping your mouth open
  • When you feel that you can not breathe in anymore, exhale through your mouth while making “ha” sound
  • Bring your focus towards the third eye position (between the eyes) or the tip of your nose as you exhale

3. Breath focus

This technique requires your imagination of words that induce happiness, relaxation, and peacefulness. Here are the steps to practice breath focus:

  • Find a secluded place where you can concentrate on your mind
  • Practice deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing for 1-2 minutes
  • Place your hand on your belly and feel it rising and falling with each breath
  • Exhale with a sigh
  • Now, you can start with the phrase or word of your choice and slowly say it while inhaling. For example, while inhaling, you can say “inhaling peacefulness and joy”
  • With each exhale, say what you want to dispose of. For example, “exhaling stress and worries”
  • Repeat this for 4-5 minutes while focusing on the phrase and your breathing

4. Muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation or muscle relaxation is a method that is used to release tension and anxiety by being physically relaxed. This technique can also be used to help with sleeping problems.

Here are how you do a progressive muscle relaxation technique:

  • Sit in the most comfortable position
  • Plan your muscle group from your lower body to upper body
  • As you breathe in, tighten the whole muscle in one muscle group
  • When you breathe out, relax the muscle group altogether and not gradually
  • Give yourself a 10-second rest in between each flex and change the muscle group
  • Work out the muscle groups alternatively from your lower body to the upper body

5. Equal breathing

The other name of this technique is called Vritti in Sanskrit. It is one of the most basic techniques in yoga breathing exercises. How to start doing equal breathing?

  • Sit in a comfortable position or lie on your back
  • Slowly breathe in and out as normal
  • Learn the process of your breathing
  • Concentrate your mind as you count to 4 while you inhale the oxygen
  • Give yourself a slight pause as to how normal breathing does
  • Exhale while counting to 4
  • Pause again before continuing to inhale

Try these techniques at home and seek professional help if anxiety and stress persist. Through Okadoc, you can now seek online consultation or book online appointment with renowned Ayurveda Practitioner or Psychologist.