More on: Breath

More techniques on how to keep calm and start the new week the best way:

3. Progressive relaxation
How it’s done: To nix tension from head to toe, close the eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each.  Start with the feet and toes, then move up to the knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes—all while maintaining deep, slow breaths. Having trouble staying on track? Breathe in through the nose, hold for a count of five while the muscles tense, then breathe out through the mouth on release.

When it works best: At home, at a desk, or even on the road. One word of caution: Dizziness is never the goal. If holding the breath ever feels uncomfortable, tone it down to just a few seconds.

Level of difficulty: Beginner

4. Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril breathing”
How it’s done: A yogi’s best friend, this breath is said to bring calm, balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain. Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb, and exhaling through the left nostril.

When it works best: Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize. Just don’t try this one before bed: Nadi shodhana is said to “clear the channels” and make people feel more awake. “It’s almost like a cup of coffee,” Pacheco says.

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Nadi Shodhana

5. Guided visualization
How it’s done: Head straight for your happy place, no questions asked. With a coach, therapist, or helpful recording as your guide, breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images to replace any negative thoughts. While it’s just one means of achieving mindfulness, “Guided visualization” helps put you in the place you want to be, rather than letting your mind go to the internal dialogue that is stressful.

When it works best: Pretty much any place you can safely close your eyes and let go (e.g. not at the wheel of a car).

Level of difficulty: Intermediate.

6. Kapalabhati or “Skull Shining breath”
How it’s done: Ready to brighten up your day from the inside out? This one begins with a long, slow inhale, followed by a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly. Once comfortable with the contraction, up the pace to one inhale-exhale (all through the nose) every one to two seconds, for a total of 10 breaths.

When it works best: When it’s time to wake up or start looking on the bright side. It will warm up the body, shake off stale energy, and wake up the brain. If alternate nostril breathing is like coffee, consider this a shot of espresso.

Level of difficulty: Advanced

All set to feel completely relaxed? no more excuses!!!

 

 

Snug Hug

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