Breathing Through the Rough Times
World-renowned yoga instructors Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee share the following suggestions in this article that they’ve written. They tell how to use our minds and breathing to bring us a sense of peace when the world around us brings new sources of stress every day.
The current economic crisis has people anxious and fearful. More than ever, we need to take time every day to consciously move out of the chaos and move into right action. There is always an opportunity to stay calm during a crisis by using tools such as yoga to center yourself and manage your emotional reactions.
Breathing, called Pranayama, can help alleviate anxiety, worry, and fear. Typically anxiety causes us to take in shallow, short breaths which can create more tension.
To begin, find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and just begin to notice your breath. If you find your breathing choppy, see if you can make it smooth. Notice the direction in which you are breathing. Is your inhalation making your eyes feel pressurized or is it softening the eyes? If so, take the heel of your palms and place them on your eyes, as you inhale, the eyes soften and drop away from your hands.
As you exhale, imagine there is a valve at the heart center and the breath is going to leave from that valve. See the smooth inhalation as it moves in the body and it moves down almost like you are filling up a glass of water from the bottom to the top. The exhalation is leaving from the center of the chest.
Do this for 20 cycles of inhaling and exhaling.
Then, release the hands, let the eyes soften and sense a joyful release through the heart’s center on the exhalation. Make smooth, easy inhalations and exhalations without fear, without resistance. The breath moves smoothly and slowly, the brain moves away from the forehead on the inhalation. The exhalation slides up and out of the body.
Take a few minutes everyday with your breath. Be kind, be easy, stay centered through the storm and always remember this too shall pass; and that your inner world can never really be threatened by your outer world.
Yee and Saidman-Yee are the creators of www.GaiamYogaClub.com, a self-paced 12 week online program that offers nine online yoga videos and 63 audio podcast classes with pose guides covering over 75 poses.
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