Breathing Exercises for Staying Positive Under Pressure

Posted by Amina AlTai on

The work week is tough.  There's only 24 hours in the day, but our to-do lists could easily use another 10 (you know, because we have our day jobs, our side hustle and it would be nice to see friends and make dinner), and that's all before we even take a moment to care for ourselves.  All of that inevitably sends us into a paralyzing tale spin and before you know it, a freakout ensues.  That used to be my regular Sunday night ritual before I learned to get a grip on my fear and focus my energy on the positive.  Here are a few of my favorite tips for cultivating positive energy:

1. Kundalini Yoga's Breath of Fire:  This rhythmic breath in and out of the nose, sounds a little bit like sniffing and is the result of a super relaxed diaphragm.  Watch my favorite #SpiritJunkie, Gabby Bernstein, do it here

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing: When we're in freakout mode, it stimulates our sympathetic nervous system's flight or fight survival response.  This, in turn, causes our breathing to become rapid and shallow and that only furthers the feelings of fear and anxiety.  Alternate Nostril breathing is one of my favorite tools because it very quickly gets you back to a place of homeostasis and perpetuates an overwhelming calm.  

  • Take your right thumb and place it over your right nostril and take a deep inhale through your left nostril.  
  • At the height of your inhale, close off your left nostril, lift your right thumb, and exhale through your right nostril.
  • After a full and deep exhale, take a deep inhale through your right nostril, sealing it with your right thumb at the top of your inhale, and then lifting your finger to exhale deeply through your left nostril.  
  • Repeat for 3-5 minutes.  

3. 4-7-8 Breathing:  I use this one weekly, if not daily, and it's one of my favorites. Dr. Weil's 4-7-8 breathing technique fully resets your nervous and takes no time at all.  So if you've had a stressful meeting and don't have time to bust our your meditation cushion, this is for you!  Making sure your tongue is connected to your the roof of your mouth, you breath in through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of seven and exhale for a count of eight.  I highly recommend watching Dr. Weil's demo which makes it crystal clear.  



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