How does yoga help us against stress? Practicing yoga asana (exercises) and yoga pranayama (breathing) helps us to dispel stress not only on a physical, but also on a mental and psychological level. The harmony between all of this is very important. Proper breathing with Yoga exercises teaches us to breathe deeply and to use the full capacity of the lungs.
Proper breathing with yoga exercises – warming up
First you should get warm. Use the sun salutation for this. Repeat 3-4 times, then sit on the floor, then sitting cross-legged on the floor. More flexible people can also go into the lotus position. This is the classic way of sitting in pranayama. This is the name of the conscious regulation of breathing, i.e. breathing with a certain duration, speed and rhythm.
Proper breathing with Yoga exercises – The lotus position as a starting position
To get into the lotus position, you first get warm with the “butterfly”. To do this, sit on the floor and bend your legs to the side so that the soles of your feet touch. The knees are on your side. Raise and lower your knees. Repeat this 50 times.
Then stretch your legs forward and to the side. Bend your right leg and place your foot on the thigh of your left leg. Now pull your left leg towards you. If you let it lie under your right thigh, the pose is called the “half lotus”. This is easier. However, when you place your foot on your right thigh, you are in the classic “lotus position”. It is one of the most difficult poses. If you have difficulties, it is better to stay in the easier “half lotus” pose or simply sit cross-legged.
During the exercises, your spine should be kept upright and your knees should be touching the floor.
Yoga Exercises: The Complete Yoga Breathing
Let us now begin with full yoga breathing. It consists of three elements: abdominal breathing, chest breathing, and collarbone breathing.
Breathe in through your nose. Try to breathe into your stomach. In this way the diaphragm is lifted and the heart is massaged. Then you take in the air in the chest area, which causes the chest to expand and finally you breathe in as if you were breathing with your collarbones, i.e. the uppermost part of the chest. All of this happens in one breath. Exhalation is again through the nose and in the same order: abdomen, chest, collarbone.
Proper breathing with Yoga exercises – Regularity is the key to success
Do this exercise for at least 5 minutes a day. Your thoughts should only focus on the airflow as you inhale and exhale. During this yoga exercise, all parts of the lungs are filled with air. In order for the air to be properly absorbed by the body, the exercise must be repeated daily. However, the effect is great. Yoga breathing prevents negative psychological states, tiredness, problems with concentration and sleep, etc. It also improves the ability to work, cleans the blood and improves its circulation, which in turn stimulates the cells of the skin.
Correct breathing with yoga exercises: alternating breathing
Now we come to alternating breathing. It leads to a harmony between the intellectual and emotional realms. With regular repetition, this exercise can prevent possible psychological disorders such as nervousness, worry or restlessness, irritability, etc. For these reasons, alternating breathing is one of the best breathing exercises against stress.
Remain in the asanas you have chosen (cross-legged or lotus position). Open the fingers of the right hand and close the index and middle fingers. Close the right nostril with your thumb and the left with your ring and little finger.
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left for 2 seconds.
- Hold your breath by holding both nostrils closed for 8 seconds.
- Exhale for 4 seconds through the right nostril by closing the left one with your ring and little finger.
- Inhale through your right nostril for 2 seconds, keeping your left nostril closed.
- Close both nostrils and hold your breath for 8 seconds.
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and exhale through the left for 4 seconds.
It’s a series. Do three series. If you get dizzy during this time, inhale and exhale normally a few times between the series or interrupt the exercise for a while.
Proper breathing with Yoga exercises – Relaxation at the end of the exercises
At the end, lie on your back to relax; this means letting every part of your body loosen and relax and think of something nice and positive. When your muscles are relaxed, your mind can relax too. The legs should be slightly apart and the palms should point towards the ceiling. Focus on breathing and loosening each part of the body.
Yoga Exercises – Relax the body from the bottom up
Start from the bottom and work your way up. Focus your thoughts on the toes of your right leg. Pull them together and then let them loose again. Then loosen the entire sole of the foot, heel, ankle, calf, knee and thigh. The right leg becomes so heavy and relaxed. Repeat the same thing with your left leg until they both feel so heavy that you don’t want to lift them off the floor. Relax the buttocks by briefly tensing the muscles and then releasing them again.
Do the same with the abs. Tense it up and then relax it again. Then relax your chest and rib cage. Breathe calmly and freely. In your mind, follow your spine up to your neck. The entire spine must be relaxed. Next come the arms. As with the legs, start with your fingers and gradually work your way up to your shoulders – first one arm, then the other. If it is easier for you, you can clench your hands in a fist and then relax.
Continue with the neck, chin, lips, and nose. Relax your cheeks so that they feel heavy and as if they are falling to one side. Don’t forget your eyelids either. The forehead must feel comfortably stretched, it must not be wrinkled and tense. The thoughts should also be calm.
Yoga Exercises: Don’t forget to breathe as you relax!
Breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Relax more and more with each breath.
This is the best way to get rid of stress, as the whole organism will rest. Stay in this phase for as long as you want, but not less than 5 minutes. Just a few minutes of complete relaxation reduce restlessness and tiredness more than many hours of restless sleep.
Don’t forget to think of something positive. Enjoy the effect of the breathing exercises you did before. Before you get up, stretch and you will most likely have to yawn. Correct breathing with yoga exercises you will now feel more relaxed and in a better mood.