There are many aspects of life that can cause feelings of anxiety. Below is a calming breathing exercise that can reduce stress and anxiety. Practice it every day or as needed.
Lie down comfortably with a blanket or pillow under your head and perhaps a bolster or rolled blanket under your knees – close your eyes.
Scan the body and notice how you feel, physically, without any attempt to change it – only noticing.
Begin to observe your thoughts – again with the intention to be with what is – and not changing anything.
Bring your awareness to your breath, breathing in and out of your nose, noticing any thoughts that arise – without judging them.
Begin to lengthen each breath – breathing more deeply. Continue breathing in and out through the nose for a minute or two, allowing the breath to become smooth, even, deep, and effortless.
As you breathe, begin to count the natural length of each inhalation and each exhalation. Do this for a minute or two.
Begin to lengthen your exhalations, at first by a count of one.
If possible, continue to lengthen your exhalation by one additional count, until your exhalation is twice as long as your inhalation (or as long as feels comfortable, without any forcing or straining).
Breathing in and out with the 1:2 ratio for five minutes.
Allow your breath to return to normal.
Take a few moments to observe how you feel.
What are you feeling in your body? What are the quality of your thoughts? Is there a change that is contributing to a more relaxed state of mind?
If you like, journal about your breathing exercise/meditation – this will help you notice the change over time.
This breathing technique was adapted from Bo Forbes’ book Yoga for Emotional Balance (Shambhala Publications, 2011).
Some of the benefits of Yoga Breathing:
calms the mind and integrates the mental/physical balance
releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs
dramatically reduces emotional ad nervous anxiety
improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen
amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system