Special guest, Claire Charters of The OM Collective takes us through different breathing exercises to reduce stress and anxiety.
You can also find a $100 gift voucher to an All-Inclusive Yoga Retreat and access to Om Collective's Sleep Ritual Box in our Winter Box.
Mindful breathing techniques are a great tool for reducing stress and anxiety, while also inducing a deep sense of inner-peace and contentment. We all have those moments where we feel overwhelmed, worried, stressed and a prisoner to our own inner monologue telling us what we can and cannot do. However, by using the breath to reconnect with the mind and body we are able to calm our minds and relax our body. The best thing of all is this natural remedy can be done anytime, anywhere, and doesn't require anything more than focusing on your breath.
Below are three breathing techniques to help you reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm, and create a deep sense of relaxation whether you are at home, work or on the move.
Slow Deep Breathing: great for beginners!
Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. Breathe in through the nose and try to inflate your entire diaphragm rather than expanding your lungs only – this ensures a deeper breath.
Try taking six to ten slow, deep breaths per minute for approximately ten minutes each day, or with the onset of an anxious mood. This is a good technique to try before a stressful event like a job interview, presentation or exam. You should feel the effect immediately.
Those who practice yoga may be familiar with this technique; Kapalabhati breathing is a great way to warm up the body. It also requires a lot of focus and so helps to distract the mind from other things likely causing you stress.
Take one slow, deep breath in and exhale with a fast, powerful breath that comes from deep in the belly. Make sure you inhale and exhale through your nose only.
Once you master your breathing, try increasing the speed but always make sure your in breath is slow and deep. Short, shallow breathing through the chest is associated with stress so deep breaths help to promote calm and tranquillity.
Kumbhaka or Breath Retention
This technique is great for quietening the mind and energising the body, as well as slowing down fast-paced breathing.
- Inhale through your nose and draw your breath down to your belly to the count of four until your lungs are completely full.
- Hold the breath for a count of four*.
- On the exhale slowly release the breath to the count of four. Breathe out through the nose. Visualise the breath slowly making its way up the chest and pausing for a moment with each number that you count. Think of air slowly being released from a balloon, that’s the controlled pace of the release.
- When lungs are completely empty (you can release a little extra air at the bottom if there is still air left), then hold for a count of four.
- Repeat for at least 5 cycles of breaths. Alternatively, repeat this cycle for up to ten minutes to turn the exercise into a deeper meditative practice.
*If a four-count seems easy, you can start increasing the counts as you breathe and hold.
You can check out The Om Collective's full range of yoga retreats and their Sleep Ritual Box on The OM Collective and follow them on Instagram @omwellnessandyoga for more. They've also shared two exclusive discount codes with the RY community: For their yoga retreats use the code: OMGC2708 and for their Sleep Ritual Box use the code: SWEETDREAMS896745.