Last week I made the mistake of making too many appointments back to back. As I am lying in the spa chair receiving an amazing facial I catch myself becoming tense as I worry about making the next appointment. The tension builds as I struggle to relax and enjoy this, all to rare, moment of self-indulgent pampering. Fortunately, I remembered to use a tool from my yoga tool box – the full yogic breath.
This breath has the ability to calm the mind, release muscle tension and reduce anxiety. It is a basic building block in a yoga practice but can be used anywhere at any time.
Full Yogic Breath:
1. Take a deep inhale, filling the abdomen with air.
2. Continue the inhale, filling the chest with air.
3. Exhale the air from the chest.
4. Continue to exhale fully, wringing the air from the abdomen.
Repeat the sequence until you feel the tension ease and a calmness wash over you. At first you may feel an uneveness in the breath but with practice the breath will become smooth and steady. Remember to go slow and easy and never force the breath.
Visualizing the breath occurring in a wave like pattern or in a continuous circle will help you feel the full benefits from this wonderful pranayama. By practicing this breath daily it will eventually become your natural response to life’s daily stresses.