Did you know that the deep-focused breathing in yoga has been scientifically proven to improve mood and decrease anxiety?
According to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the concentrated nose breathing in yoga releases the brain chemical GABA. Also known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, this chemical in the brain helps to regulate nerve activity. It’s like a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety treatment!
You can practice complete yoga breathing anytime, at home, on the road or at home. It can be done sitting up with a tall spine or laying down in bed.
Step 1: Find a comfortable sitting position with a tall spine or a lying down position.
Step 2: Start to breathe in and out of your nose.
Step 3: Place your hand on your belly and allow each inhale to fill your belly with breath so the hand moves up and the exhale empties the belly of breath so the hand moves down. Practice this for 30 seconds until you become comfortable with it and then remove the hand.
Step 4: To add on, now place your hand on the outside of your lower rib cage, the diaphragm muscle area. When you inhale, fill the belly with breath and now allow the ribcage to expand out sideways. When you exhale, release the breath in and then out of the belly. Practice this for 30 seconds until you feel comfortable and then remove the hand.
Step 5: Lastly, now place your hand on your collarbone. Breathe in, filling the belly with breath, expanding the rib cage and now allowing the breath to travel to the collar bone (top of the lungs), moving your hand slightly up. Exhale to release the breath in and down. Practice the complete breath for 30 seconds and then release the hand. Try without the hand for another 30 seconds.
Note: Be careful not to allow the tops of the shoulders to rise up and down. Keep them steady. If that is too challenging, start practicing the complete breath lying down instead of sitting up.
How do you feel now? This simple and powerful breath is a great pick-me-up throughout the day.