I tend to get into my head a lot and forget to breathe, which in turn can lead to anxiety and overwhelm. Over time, if not attended to, this can develop into chronic stress!
One of my go-to self-care tools for managing my stress is taking 5 minutes to relax and breathe. As a yoga teacher, I’ve learned a lot of different breath techniques over the years, but the one I come back to again and again is Equal Parts Breath or Balancing Breath.
How to Practice Balanced Breathing / Sama Vrtti:
- Sit in a relaxed yet upright posture, or lie down with supports under the head and knees, if needed.
- Tune into the natural rhythm of your breath.
- Breathe into your belly – not forcefully, but focus on expanding the belly like a balloon on your inhalations.
- Breathe in to a count of 3 or 4 seconds, and breathe out to a count of 3 or 4 seconds.
- Gradually lengthen to count to 5 or 6 seconds per inhale and exhale, if it is comfortable.
- Come back to your natural rhythm of breath if you need to at any time.
This simple breath exercise has been proven to improve heart rate variability, which is a measure of our resiliency to stress. Give it a try – when you’re sitting in the car, about to have a difficult conversation, when you first wake up or right before bed – your nervous system will thank you!
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