It’s hard not to feel rising anxiety levels during this time owing to daily sensational updates on the coronavirus pandemic, unrest and strife in the world, and looming natural disasters.
One helpful technique to combat anxiety is called the full yogic breath, otherwise known as the 3-part breath. It’s called 3-part as it involves: 1. diaphragmatic breathing (into the lowest part of your lungs), 2. thoracic breathing (into your chest) and, 3. clavicular breathing (into the top most part of your lungs).
Breathing through your nose, begin by placing your hands on your belly and exhaling all of the air out. Then fill the belly with air like a balloon. Fill it up with air and exhale to deflate the balloon. The tummy swells out because you are expanding the diaphragm. Repeat this process several times. The chest and shoulders should be relaxed and not moving. You can spend from 1-5 minutes enjoying this abdominal breathing.
In the second step toward Full Yogic Breathing, fill the belly with air as before and then take more air into the chest area by expanding the chest and intercostal muscles. The whole rib cage is expanded as you breathe in. You can keep the air there for a bit before exhaling. Repeat this step several times. Take your time and feel free to close your eyes as you repeat the process.
The last step is to add the clavicular breathing by raising your shoulders to take in more air after you have breathed into the belly and the chest. This is how you fill up the entire lungs. Add counting. Inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of eight. Doubling the length of the exhalation induces the parasympathetic nervous system which turns off the fight or flight response in the body and turns on the rest, digest, and relax response that we need to reduce the anxious feelings and thoughts.
I am looking forward to hearing from you as to how Full Yogic Breathing is helping you manage your stress. Take your time and enjoy the process. This is one of those techniques that is really worth it.