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Breathwork Therapy for Anxiety

Breathwork Therapy:

A way of systematic breathing in order to enhance your mood and improve your physical and mental health.

When you breathe in air , blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the waste product that’s carried back through your body and exhaled.Improper flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide hamper the flow of energy in the body resulting in anxiety, panic attack, fatigue and other physical emotional disturbances.

Benefits of Breathwork:

1. Relieves stress and anxiety by activating your nervous system response to stress

2. Improves mood by preventing you from further panic and anxiety attacks

3. Keep your lungs working smoothly to put a stop to the accumulation of toxins.

Breathwork Techniques:

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate-nostril breathing (nadi shodhana) involves blocking off one nostril at a time as you breathe through the other, alternating between nostrils in a regular pattern. It's best to practice this type of breathing in a seated position in order to maintain your posture.

  • Position your right hand by bending your pointer and middle fingers into your palm, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinky extended. This is known as Vishnu mudra in yoga.

  • Close your eyes or softly gaze downward.

  • Inhale and exhale to begin.

  • Close off your right nostril with your thumb.

  • Inhale through your left nostril.

  • Close off your left nostril with your ring finger.

  • Open and exhale through your right nostril.

  • Inhale through your right nostril.

  • Close off your right nostril with your thumb.

  • Open and exhale through your left nostril.

  • Inhale through your left nostril.

Do your best to work up to 10 rounds of this breathing pattern. If you begin to feel lightheaded, take a break. Release both nostrils and breathe normally.

2. Belly Breathing - According to The American Institute of Stress, 20 to 30 minutes of belly breathing each day will reduce anxiety and stress.Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down. For example, try sitting in a chair, sitting cross-legged, or lying on your back with a small pillow under your head and under your knees.

  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly, below the ribcage.

  • Allow your belly to relax, without forcing it inward by squeezing or clenching your muscles.

  • Breathe in slowly through your nose. The air should move into your nose and downward so that you feel your stomach rise with your other hand and fall inward (toward your spine).

  • Exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips. Take note of the hand on your chest, which should remain relatively still.

Although the sequence frequency will vary according to your health, most people begin by doing the exercise three times and working up to five to 10 minutes, one to four times a day.

3. Box Breathing - Also known as four-square breathing, box breathing is very simple to learn and practice. In fact, if you've ever noticed yourself inhaling and exhaling to the rhythm of a song, you're already familiar with this type of paced breathing. It goes like this:

  • Exhale to a count of four.

  • Hold your lungs empty for a four count.

  • Inhale to a count of four.

  • Hold air in your lungs for a count of four.

  • Exhale and begin the pattern anew.

4. 4-7-8 Breathing - The 4-7-8 breathing exercise, also called the relaxing breath, acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. At first, it's best to perform the exercise seated with your back straight. Once you become more familiar with the breathing exercise, however, you can perform it while lying in bed:

  • Place and keep the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth for the duration of the exercise.

  • Completely exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.


About the Author

Mishka Goel

I'm Mishka. I am currently pursuing Masters in Yoga therapy after successfully completing my bachelors in the same, with hopes of amassing knowledge in yogic studies.

I am obsessed with holistic health and wellness and have a deep passion of writing. Yoga has made me fall in love with my reality, luring me to learn and share my experiences in this journey.

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