4 Yogi Breathing Techniques That Can Ease Anxiety and Depression

Pranayama - The Yoga Breathing

Our minds can be unsteady, anxious, obstinate, fearsome, and full of noise sometimes. According to Vedic Hindu scriptures, the human mind is like a wild storm. If not tamed, it can become the reason for our destruction. 

Inhale & Exhale are the two basic actions of every human's life. These two life-sustaining actions have the solution to all your mental health problems.

Pranayama or yogic breathing technique is one such process to attain mental peace. It is a process that helps you to attain consciousness, self-awareness, and self-worth. Plus, it has the power to cure chronic illnesses in your body.

When you perform yogi breathing techniques, you consciously raise your mental vibration. As a result, you attain utmost peace or "Nirvana"

How To Begin With Yogi Breathing?

  • Close your eyes.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply.
  • Hold your breath in for 5 seconds.
  • Exhale out strongly.

Things to keep in mind; 

Note 1 - The deep inhale and exhale action should cause expansion as well as contraction of your diaphragm around the abdomen not around your chest. Breath diaphragmatically, do not breathe from the chest. 

Note 2 - Do not get lost in your thought process while performing yogi breathing. Stay focused and aligned with your breathing. You can focus by chanting OM or counting the number of breaths you take.

Note 3 - If you feel distracted by your dark thoughts, let them appear. Do not try to push your thoughts away.

Note 4 - Try to focus more on the sound of your breathing. Do not ponder, judge, or conclude. Just let your thoughts pass, act as if you don't care about your thoughts anymore. 

4 Types of Pranayama

Our breath is a barometer of our nervous system. If your nervous system keeps on getting imbalanced, stressed, tensed, and anxious. The change then leads to your brain and promotes anxiety, depression, or mental breakdown. 

Scientific research at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has cited the effects of diaphragmatic breathing practices on cognitive as well as physiological brain functions. Concluding with, breathing can improve brain functions, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression if done regularly. 

So, let us unveil few traditional techniques to find mental peace via yoga breathing techniques. 

1. The Elongated Exhale 

As the name suggests, the exhale has to be longer than the length of your inhale. It is also known as 1:2 breathing practice and it's the most convenient form of yogic breathing. 

Types of Yoga Breathing

When you are already focused on exhaling with double your power. Hence, you don't get any distractions. Thus, it becomes easy for you to concentrate on your breathing. 

  • Sit with an upright spine, gently close your eyes.
  • Inhale slowly for 2 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for the other 2 seconds.
  • Now, exhale very slowly, making it twice the time you inhaled. 

If done 5 minutes before sleeping, this can help you in reduced insomnia, reduced anxiety, reduced stress, and better sleep. 

2. The Skull Shining Breath: Kapalabhati 

Also known as the "Breath of Fire". It is a traditional Hatha Yoga practice in Shatkarma for inner purification. 

Kapala in Hindi means "skull" and Bhati means "illumination" or "fire". It is a continuous forceful breathing technique that helps your body detox itself. 

  • Sit with an upright spine, gently close your eyes.
  • Inhale diaphragmatically.
  • Now, as you start to exhale, contract your abdomen further inside towards your spine. Contract as much as it feels comfortable. 
  • Hold your abdomen for few seconds. 
  • Now, gently release your abdomen and the air will automatically fill your lungs.

Start with slow breaths and as you get better, you can elongate the time of inhaling and exhaling. 

This Pranayama practice involves a high amount of energy. Hence, instantly this increases blood supply in your brain. As a result, after 10-20 breaths, you will feel an uplift in your mood and spirits. 

For health benefits, it increases your lung capacity over time. It brings glow and radiance to your face. It improves your metabolism and digestion. Plus, this has the power to strengthen your core over time.

3. The Cooling Breath: Shiitali Kumbhaka 

In Hindi, Shiitali is "calming" and Kumbhaka is a "process of holding air inside the body for few seconds". This practice of breathing has a very positive cooling effect on all your endocrine glands as well as brain cells. 

  • Firstly, sit with an upright spine and stick your tongue out of the mouth.
  • Curl your tongue sideways, like a straw (this might not be genetically possible for everyone. If so, please try any other breathing practice). 
  • Inhale through the tongue and take your tongue back into your mouth. Hold your breath for a few seconds here.
  • Now, exhale slowly from your nose and feel the coolness in your breath. 
  • Continue this 5 to 10 times. 

It is an ancient practice to balance the body heat (pita) during a hot day. Hence, it is named "Cooling Breath". 

It also helps to cool down internal inflammation. Encourages flow of "PRANA" and supports mental wellbeing.

4. Alternate Nostril Breathing: Nadi Shodhana

In Hindi, Nadi is the "pulse" and Shodhana is a "process of cleansing". This is an ancient nervous system cleansing technique that has been used by many Indian Sages for inner healing and purification.

  • Sit with an upright spine, gently close your eyes.
  • Keep your thumb on your right nostril blocking it. 
  • First, exhale deeply from your left nostril and then take a deep inhale from the same nostril. 
  • Now release your right nostril and block the left nostril from your index finger. 
  • Now, exhale deeply from your right nostril and then take a deep inhale from the same nostril. 
  • Now, keep on repeating this process by switching your fingers for the next 10 minutes.

Alternate nostril breathing acts as a beneficial way to calm down hypertension, anxiety, and stress. It instantly makes you feel the release of thoughts.  

This Pranayama technique is also the best way to cure, asthma, migraine pain, and constipation. 

Attaining The Peace - Nirvana 

The mystery of life and death is interwoven within the essence of breath. Thus, a man without conscious breath is a dead man. 

Even if you are alive but, you are always lost in your negative thought process. That's also equivalent to being brain dead. 

Let your anxious thoughts pass. Allow them to move and do not bother about them. 

Learn the importance of yoga breathing and become a conscious breathing soul, perform more meditation, be more self-aware. Do not hold on to any thoughts, crises, grudges, or memories. 

Remember, if it does not affect you, it cannot break you. Just inhale, hold, exhale and smile. Realize this ultimate truth, and you will enter the pure state of peace or Nirvana

Read about - 8 Yoga poses for weight loss!

9/21/2021 6:30:00 PM
Nidhi Thakur
Written by Nidhi Thakur
Nidhi Thakur is a freelance Content Writer for hire in the health and wellness niche. She works with fitness bloggers, health magazines, and B2B companies providing highly informative and engaging content, that helps convert viewers into sustaining clients. When Nidhi is not writing, she loves to work out and read health...
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