The 2-Minute DIY Ayurvedic Anxiety Fixer

(2 Minute Read)

Breath is life. When you cease to breathe, you cease to live. But did you know that breathing is something you can do badly – and that when you breathe badly every aspect of your life is negatively impacted?

Think about it; if not breathing means you’re dead, then breathing badly (shallow and quick inhalations, stuttered breathing, mouth breathing, or incomplete exhalation), puts you closer to death than life.

But, breathing properly (deep, full inhalations)… That’s a total game changer. When you breathe well, you think more clearly, you respond to the world more evenly, and you are calmer and more present. When you breathe well, your ability to perceive reality is enhanced because your brain is functioning well and your senses are sharper and clearer. You’re more able to see and respond to what’s truly there.

When you breathe badly, you become highly stressed. The nervous system constricts and the senses contract. You project survival-based internal emotional and mental reactions onto the world around you. You become distorted by the stress and tension that is a hallmark of low levels of oxygen and less blood circulating fully throughout your body. This creates less than ideal outcomes.

Becoming aware of how you breathe is the first step to some very big changes. Implementing daily breath exercises that develop healthy breathing techniques is like flipping a magic switch. The world would be a very different place if everyone simply breathed well! Guess what? It starts with you!

Breathing is a process of gas exchange. Oxygen (a gas) is drawn into the lungs and distributed throughout the body. Carbon dioxide (also a gas) is ejected from the body through exhalation.

When you breathe well, there is a healthy balance of CO2 and Oxygen in your body. This optimizes the function of the body, mind, and emotions. When you breathe badly, your blood and the tissues of your body become oxygen deficient and carbon dioxide rich – triggering hormonal, mental, and emotional stress responses. You spiral into hyper states of distress unless or until function is brought back into a normal range.

A powerful way for you to reduce and manage stress more effectively is by developing conscious awareness and control of your breathing.

The act of breathing is automatic. It is governed by the autonomic nervous system – that part of you which operates without conscious thought. In fact, the word ” autonomic” actually means “to function automatically.”

To rely on the subconscious function of breath, though, is to deny yourself the benefits of self-regulation, stress management, and wellness.

Most people go through the day breathing in a way that locks the body into a fight-or-flight stress response. Shallow, rapid, or stuttered chest breathing creates much unnecessary friction and turbulence.

So – let us introduce you not only to the concept of “breath exercises” (and there are many different types) – but, specifically to a breath exercise called “Alternate Nostril Breathing.” It balances the Oxygen/CO2 levels in the body, calms the mind, reduces anxiety and overwhelm, eases anger and fatigue, restores presence of mind, imparts a feeling of relaxation, and improves overall wellness.

Even just a couple of minutes of this practice will set a deeper baseline for breathing that will stay with you for a while. The practice also develops awareness of your breath, its patterns, and your mental and emotional states in any given moment as they relate to how you are breathing.

Use this practice in the morning, evening before bed, and throughout the day if you become unsettled. It’s an excellent tool to help ease you into a calmer state as you prepare for sitting meditation, and it’s a quick and easy thing to practice before high-stress situations – such as job interviews, public speaking engagements, or an exam.

Balances Oxygen & CO2 levels in the body
Calms the mind
Balances the emotions
Improves focus
Increases energy
Reduces fatigue
Boosts the immune system
Relieves stress
Reduces inflammation
Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
Harmonizes the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality

This Simple (and fun) Breath Practice takes 2 minutes. You can do it anywhere! In your car at a stoplight, at your desk, before you step out the door for an appointment. It’s a powerful to collect and center yourself so that you are more focused and calm.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and the hips relaxed. Release tension in your face – particularly the eyes, brows, and jaws.
  2. You may close your eyes, if you wish.
  3. Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm face upward and press your index finger and thumb together.
  4. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows.
  5. Place the ring finger and pinky on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril.
  6. Use the ring finger and pinky together to open and close the left nostril and use the thumb for the right nostril.
  7. On an exhalation, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
  8. Breathe in through the left nostril and then close it with the ring finger and pinky.
  9. Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
  10. Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger and pinky from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
These two full breaths complete one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
Perform 5–9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils.

Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.

-The breathing pattern is: breathe out, breathe in, switch sides.
-Exhale fully from your belly, inhale fully into the belly.
-Be sure that your lower belly is moving with your breath rather than your chest and shoulders.

Check out this 2-minute instructional video to see the practice in action:

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