This post was originally published on 02/08/0217 and updated on 07/04/2020
Anxiety is on the rise and a global pandemic is only adding to what is becoming a global problem.
I have been experiencing anxiety as I move into pre-menopause. It’s not something I have ever experienced and before. Luckily it doesn’t happen too often and it’s not super severe. When it does come on I try the following breathing exercises and they seem to help.
But of course, these are not intended to replace medication or professional help. They are very valid and necessary for some people with extreme anxiety issues.
Anxiety and the base chakra
Did you know that when we get scared and anxious and go into flight or fight mode, our base chakra disconnects from the earth?
This as you can imagine can be very destabilizing and ungrounding and the best thing we can do is get reconnected again.
And one of the most natural ways is to use one of the following calming anxiety breathing techniques.
Connect to your breath and calm your mind
I love this first technique and I use it when I feel anxious.
All you have to do is send your breath into the ground. It’s a simple breathing technique that can be used any time and anywhere you feel yourself starting to wobble, panic and come unstuck.
How do you do that I hear you ask? Well, it’s quite simple really, you use your will, intention and energy to help you.
- Imagine that you are a tree and that at the bottom of your feet and the bottom of our spine (your base chakra) you have roots and you can send them into the earth.
- Use your intention and imagination and see roots coming out of our feet and spine. Breathe out and send them down into the earth.
- Breathe back up from the earth into your feet and spine.
- Imagine the healing energy of the earth flowing up into your body, strengthening and supporting you, holding you stable and secure.
- Breathe back down imagining your roots going further down into the ground.
- Breathe back up, pulling the loving life force of Mother Nature into you. Feel the energy nurturing and supporting you.
- Breathe back down, further again.
- Keep breathing like this, lengthening each breath.
- Feel yourself relaxing.
- Continue as long as you need.
The earth is a living organism and will appreciate the love and attention you give her. Remember to thank her either during or after the practice. Gratitude is a wonderful gift to give back for what you have received.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is a very popular Yogic breathing technique that is done in may yoga classes. It is very balancing and calming.
It is quite a simple technique. You place your finger beside one of your nostrils and block it and breathe in or out the other.
One nostril is always blocked and one is always open. When you breathe in one you then breathe out the other. And then when you breathe out one you breathe in the other. You change after each in and out-breath.
Follow these steps
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Use your finger to block your right nostril and breathe in through your left nostril for the count of 6.
- Unblock your right nostril and block your left nostril.
- Breathe out your right nostril for the count of 6.
- Keep your left nostril blocked and breathe in through your right nostril for the count of 6
- Unblock your left nostril and block your right nostril.
- Breathe out your left nostril.
This is one round.
Do as many rounds as you need. Have a break after about 7 rounds and then see how you feel.
Left Nostril breathing
This is an easier version of the above technique. You just block the right nostril and breath in and out the left. The main channel of the left side of the body is known as Ida and it has a cooling quality so by doing this you cool your mind and bring it to a calmer state.
- Sit up straight on a cushion or a chair and place your hands on your thighs as above.
- Bock your right nostril and breath in slowly and without force and out again through the left nostril.
- Make each inhalation and exhalation the same length.
- Count of five, or any low number to help you.
- Do this for a few minutes and then sit.
Shitali – Yogic cooling breath
Here is a very simple breathing exercise to cool you down and calm your anxiety. But you need to be able to roll your tongue like in the picture
- Sit up straight in a chair or on the floor, whichever is best for you, just make sure your spine is straight.
- Place your hands on your thighs palms up, or use a mudra you are familiar with.
- Roll your tongue as seen in the picture and breath in and out with the tongue rolled.
- You will notice the air passing over the tongue is cool.
- Continue for a few minutes and you too will feel cooler.
- Once you have finished sit quietly and relax.
There is no need to panic, to fight or take flight, just remember to –
If you would like some help in learning how to do this and deal with your energy and emotions come and see me anytime.
Stay grounded and safe.