Hatha Yoga practice will help you reduce anxiety, fear and stress. In a Yoga class geared toward stress reduction we start with a warm-up and continue with standing poses that strengthen our bodies and build stamina. This section of class allows us to create a focused level of physical activity that matches the intensity of our inner circular mental activity, which is the chief cause of stress in our lives. We then continue with floor work to calm and center ourselves as we work on our physical and mental flexibility. This section of class allows us to slow down the rhythm of the breath and movement so that our minds can slow down as well. Our breathing then deepens as stress breaks up like a wave on a beach. One way you can do this on your own is take a brisk walk and then come back and take 10-15 minutes to breath slowly and rhythmically.
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Here’s a calming breath pattern:
1) Sit in a position that allows you to relax and yet maintain a lengthened spine.
2) As you slowly inhale through your nose, with mouth closed, soften your belly and let the breath slowly fill you. Try to stream the breath in at an even pace. If you can, try making a soft ocean like sound in the back of your throat as you are inhaling. This is called Ujjayi breathing.
3) Exhaling again make that ocean sound as you breath out your nose.
4) Continue pattern and to pace your breath you can try mentally repeating:
5) “Breathing in I am filled with peace”
6) “Breathing out I fill my world with peace.”