What’s the Idea?
Using a simple breathing technique to ‘deactivate’ anxiety and bring about a feeling of calm
What’s the story
I came across this and other fantastic breath techniques when studying with the fabulous Ben Wolff.
Ben is a Yoga Teacher, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Dream Yoga practitioner, with a profound depth of experience and understanding of Yoga Nidra.
He has an acute and wide understanding of contemporary scientific research into meditation, neuroscience and other fields related to Yoga Nidra. He is also part of the recently launched think tank by Heather Mason – “Yoga 4 the NHS”
People should do this because…?
For a big chunk of early human evolution, our fight or flight mechanism has been an essential survival tool.
In response to perceived threat, our body activates our sympathetic nervous system & releases adrenaline and noadrenaline, allowing us to attain a heightened state of physical and mental alertness.
However, modern day life presents us with many situations our mind/body perceives as threats that we cannot act upon…therefore robbing us of the chance of returning to a state of alert relaxation by discharging this energy.
In these instances our body releases cortisol which can have many negative implications on physiological processes like sleep, digestion, immunity, and cardiovascular activity…. not to mention emotional well-being.
Using a tried and tested breathing technique, it is possible to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system and massively reduce feelings of anxiety.
The technique is currently used by the US Veterans Administration in the treatment of PTSD, and has also been used by humanitarian charities involved in disaster response, to treat survivors.
I am a stand-up comedian and do a lot of public speaking as part of job. This system has taken the anxiety rating usually associated with stepping up to the mic from an 8 out of 10 to 2 out of 10…in the space of 10 minutes practice.
It is great for a myriad of situations including public speaking, performing, social anxiety, work stress, dealing with confrontation, coping with the rush hour, your little angel having a temper tantrum and of course dealing with our current stresses around the Coronavirus
How do you do it?
To practice the breath for anxiety, the breath is considered in four parts:
1. The inhalation…breath in for 4 seconds
2. The pause at the ‘top’ of the breath…hold your breath for 4 seconds
3. The exhalation…breath out for 6 seconds.
4. The pause at the ‘bottom’ of the breath…hold your breath for 2 second
5. Repeat the process 6 to 8 times
It may be useful when you are first starting out to use a metronome to help with timings.
That’s it…its that simple
Stuff you may need
- A pulse
- A metronome (optional)