Month: August, 2012

Anxiety and Breath

Breathing Meditation

Is there anything in your life you are worrying about? Is it possibly your children or parents, your job, income, or a relationship? Anxiety or worry zap our energy and can bring our creativity and productivity to a halt. This state of mind negatively affects our immune system so, above all, we are also more prone to disease.

The good news is that there is a simple solution!

The breath is the single, most powerful tool to control the mind and the emotions. It is absolutely free and can be done anywhere, at any time. It works so well, because we can’t worry about something and focus on the breath at the same time.  By giving the mind something positive or  at least neutral to think about, focusing on the breath gets us out of the obsessive thinking mode or worrying about something we cannot control. The only crux is that we need to be aware of our feelings or state of mind and know what breathing technique helps best in the given situation.

When we feel anxious we  usually breathe shorter, faster breaths into the upper chest. This increases anxiety. To slow ourselves down, we need to sit up tall, with both feet on the ground, the spine extended and the breastbone lifted. Now our lungs can fill up completely. We can breathe deeply into our diaphragm and lengthen the exhale.

There is one simple rule:

–           The faster we are breathing and the more we are breathing into our upper chest the more anxious we are.

–          The slower we are breathing and the more we are breathing into our belly (diaphragm) the calmer we are.  For best results to calm ourselves down, we need to lengthen our exhales: the exhale should be longer than the inhale, i.e. we start with inhaling on three counts and exhaling on four counts.  After having become comfortable with this rhythm, we can increase the length of the inhale and the exhale equally.

In addition to utilizing the breath, my anxiety workshops also allow the body to release anxiety and stress by supporting it in the various poses with numerous props. Feeling supported, the body can relax more deeply and let go of tension. The result is a focused, refreshed, and re-energized body and mind.

Another tool which is introduced is meditation. It is wonderful way to clear the mind and come back to the present moment. Meditation is the perfect antidote to anxiety.  We are anxious when we worry about the future, about either losing what we have or not getting what we want. However, we can only control the present moment. A breathing meditation can get you back to the present quickly.

This gives you a choice of three different tools for your home practice and allows you to choose the one that works best for you. A regular morning practice will get you ready for the day. This means your day will run more smoothly or you will be able to handle what comes your way with more ease.  The return of 5 to 15 minutes of meditation equals being more productive for several hours or even the whole day because you are focused and able to perform at your optimum level.