There is an integral connection between feeling stressed, unhealthy breathing and poor posture. Practising the following on a daily/regular basis may be an extremely useful set of tools to help reduce your overall levels of stress:
- Sit for about 10 minutes per day Watching Your Breath
- Benefits: This exercise calms your mind in stressful situations and tells your nervous system that everything is alright. It teaches you how to breathe properly and feel content.
1- Sit comfortably crossed legged, in Easy Pose, Half or Full Lotus, kneeling or on a chair, spine long. You may like to sit on a cushion to help create more of a natural curve in the lumbar spine. Seal lips gently and inhale through your nose. Feel the air entering your nostrils, moving down your throat and front body, down your trachea into your bronchial tubes, filling your lungs
2- At the end of the in-breath notice a natural pause as your breath turns around and transforms itself into your out-breath
3- Exhaling through your nose, notice how you are fully empting your lungs. Visualise the breath moving up the back body and out of your nostrils
4- Notice a slight pause as your exhalation ends before your inhalation begins
5- Repeat. Visualise yourself joyously drawing life-energy with each inhalation. On your exhalation consciously release any pent-up emotions, letting go as you breathe out any impurities, including carbon dioxide. As you inhale say to yourself let and as you exhale go. Inhale let exhale go
6- Watch and listen to your breath, notice it become calmer and slower as your mind too becomes calmer and slower. As your mind drifts off bring your thoughts back to your breath…continue…
7- Take a full stretch
- Perform simple Nadi Sodana (Alternate Nostril Breathing). After perfecting,try 10 rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing with a full retention
- Benefits: Cleansing the more subtle energy channels (nadis) and purifying the nerves, progressively slowing the rhythm through the breath. Counteracts anxiety, calms the mind and promotes good sleep.
1- Sit in crossed-legged or kneeling. Rest your left hand on your left thigh palm facing upwards and position your right hand in Vishnu Mudra Figure 1. (thumb up, first and second fingers curled into your palm and fourth and little finger extended)hold your palm in front of your face
2- After a full exhalation, seal your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril for a count of 4 (to begin with). Seal your left nostril with your third and little finger
3- Lift your thumb and exhale through your right nostril for a count of 8. Inhale through the same (right) nostril for a count of 4
4- Seal your right nostril with your thumb and lift your fingers to exhale through your left nostril for a count of 8
5- Repeat 10 times using every part of your lungs to full capacity. Once perfected, you may like to try retaining the breath, after an inhalation, for a count of 4 – 16 (It is very important that you listen to your own body and adjust these numbers according to your own requirements and lung capacity)
- Open your chest with Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Benefits: Opens the chest, helps respiratory problems, eases tension
1- Remain in this posture for 10 – 30 seconds. Your chest is wide open in this posture so take advantage of breathing as deeply as possible. To engage your ribcage in breathing, imagine that your ribs are like the gills of a fish, opening to draw oxygen in. This encourages the circulation of vyana (- expansive energy which governs your circulatory system making sure oxygen reaches every cell throughout your entire body)
2- Build up to holding this posture for longer (up to 2 minutes)
3- A restorative option is to place a block at the bottom tips of the shoulder blades and remain in the posture for a greater length of time-adjust to make yourself as comfortable as possible
Avoid if suffering from migraine headaches, whiplash, neck/shoulder/back problems or high blood pressure
- Consciously relax in Savasana (relaxation pose)
- Benefits: Refreshes your mind and body, invigorates nerve cells, increases creativity, promotes a calm and clear mind, lowers blood pressure, increases blood supply bringing oxygenated blood and nutrients to vital organs, re-calibrates the body and correct alignment from the asana (posture) practice
Always inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Let your spine be long and neck an extension to your spine, feet gently part, hip-width apart and palms facing up, fingers with a soft curl to them. Close your eyes and turn inward to your breathing. Remain here for at least five minutes (more if you can) and enjoy your natural and rhythmic breathing, bringing yourself back to your breath if your mind begins to wander. Be an observer of your thoughts ~ allowing them to gently pass by like white clouds floating on a beautiful summer’s day. Enjoy.
‘Stress has been called “the silent killer” and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, and an irregular heartbeat.’
Click here for: Facts about stress
I hope these suggestions may be useful to you and help you become calmer and more connected to your core being, while at the same time significantly reducing your levels of stress, allowing for a great day or night’s sleep.
To Peace, Light and Calm
P.S I would welcome any feedback to these suggestions if you have the time – as long as you feel calm.