“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Strategies for Stress Relief
As the holidays are just around the corner, how about three new strategies to handle stress better? There’s no simpler way to help you reach a relaxed state than a quick intentional breathing exercise. I mentioned in a previous post how to practice box breathing, belly breathing, and the 4-7-8 breathing. Today, I am going to go over the one-minute breath, the 4-4-6-2 breathing, and body scan relaxation. Taking a few minutes each day to unwind can make a world of difference in how we can handle life’s daily stressors.
The One-Minute Breath
- Inhale for 20 seconds
- Hold for 20 seconds
- Exhale for 20 seconds
I still find it difficult to breathe in for a full 20 seconds, so I just do 10 seconds for now, with a 10-second hold, and breathe out for 10 seconds. See what works best for you.
The 4-4-6-2 Breath
- Inhale through the back of the throat for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4 seconds
- Exhale slowly through the back of the throat for 6 seconds
- Hold empty breath for at least 2 seconds
Body Scan Relaxation
Body scan relaxation can be very helpful after a stressful event or simply as a daily practice to reduce any possible tension. It is about tensing one muscle group at a time, for 3-4 seconds, from head to toe. With each flex, breathe in through the nose for 3-4 seconds. When you release, breathe out slowly through the mouth for 5-6 seconds.
On a Final Note
You may also want to try Non-Sleep Deep Rest, another type of body scan relaxation/meditation. In just 10 minutes, a Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) protocol can help you feel better if you don’t have the time to take that most-needed nap, for instance. See which breathing exercise or body scan relaxation works best for you, or alternate like I do, depending on the day.
Until next time!
Asprey, Dave. “3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Calm down from Every Stressful Situation.” Dave Asprey, 20 Dec. 2017, daveasprey.com/deep-breathing-exercises/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2022.
—. “Step 3: 6 Ways to Hack Your Nervous System to Consciously Manage Stress.” Dave Asprey, 14 June 2012, daveasprey.com/hack-stress/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2022.
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