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BREATH - its connection to anxiety & stress

Have you ever noticed holding your breath while engaged in another activity? If you have, what follows next? Have you ever noticed breathing too heavily? If yes, what activity were you engaged in that very moment or were you just sitting down, thinking, ruminating, anticipating?

In his book " Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers", Robert Sapolsky beautifully and quite humorously describes the difference between how humans and animals perceive and deal with stress - a natural response of bodily functions in times of danger and threat. The basic difference is that animals live only in the moment and so when danger has passed, their stress response turns off and the process of regeneration begins in the body. Animals do not have the capacity humans have, to think about past challenges or difficulties or to worry about and anticipate future events. This means, we could have the stress response turned on at all times, purely by thinking about and without even being in a dangerous or threatening situation. Just imagine how much that affects the processes in the body ...

So how can we return to the moment and begin to invite the relaxation response in?

A simple way to remind ourselves of the moment and to step out of the monkey mind model is to just breathe! Often easier said than done, but here I have one a suggestion and two an invitation for you to lessen your levels of anxiety in the world we live in right now, to allow your heart to lighten and to breathe with ease.

1. Full Yogic Breath, also called Dirga Pranayama

This breath practice:

Calms the mind and body, reducing stress and anxiety

(activates the parasympathetic nervous system).

Promotes full and complete breathing.

Increases oxygen supply to the blood.

Helps increase lung capacity.

Releases muscular tension.

Prepares for deeper meditation.

2. This month I would really like to invite you all to a FULL YOGIC BREATH CHALLENGE! 20 days of a daily practice of full yogic breath. Below is a description of this practice and I will also be practicing this breath with you in all of my classes this month. Just write me back and let me know you will be participating!

To encourage you all to practice, I invite you to become really curious about how this practice affects your overall mood! You will see a real shift! In addition, I will be offering a free yoga therapy session to the winner of this challenge by picking one name out of the many that will surely take me up on this challenge :)


best in the morning, on an empty stomach or anytime you are in need of calm.

How To:

Place your hands on your belly and as you inhale, feel your abdomen expanding like a balloon, then your rib cage on all sides and then your chest, as shown in picture.

Then exhale by gently pressing against your chest and allow the flow down to your belly.

Duration: Begin with 5 and by the end of 20 days work up to 20-30 breaths

Contraindications: None, this practice can be safely practiced by all.

Precautions: Should your breath feel too much of a strain, do less. This practice should not raise your heart rate. If it does, please discontinue and return to your breathing pattern.

Full Yogic Breath - hand positions

Looking forward to this challenge with you and to seeing your sweet faces in class,


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