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Tips for Managing Anxiety: Yogic Breathing

July 27, 2023

By Alex Pike
1 min read

During my 200-hour yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, I was taught yogic breathing, also known as pranayama. One of my favorite breathing techniques is Dirgha pranayama. Dirgha is the Complete Yogic Breath. It is called this because the deep conscious breath utilizes the full capacity of each of the separate areas of the lungs. Dirgha has the potential to calm the mind, allowing one to look inwards and release tension in the chest and abdomen.

I like to use this practice when I am feeling anxious or feeling a loss of control.

To begin a Dirgha practice, sit tall in a comfortable position. You can close your eyes or soften your gaze, whichever is most comfortable for you. For a few rounds breath in and out through the nose, not forcing or straining. Allow your face and jaw to relax. You can keep your hands in your lap or place them on your belly, feeling the belly expand into your palms. 

Slowly allow the breath to grow longer and deeper. On your next inhale, guide the breath deep down, expanding your belly, then ribs, then chest. On the exhale guide the breath out the chest, then ribs, then belly. Repeat this cycle of conscious deep breathing for several rounds.

After a few rounds, on an inhale let go of any control of your breath and return to a natural breath. 

The resources I learned through my yoga certification course at Kripalu have been helpful in managing my anxiety. If you are looking for more methods like this, I highly recommend checking out the other resources on their website.

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