Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you ever check in on your breathing? When you feel stressed or anxious, do you pause for a moment to observe your breathing patterns?
If not, it’s time to start doing so. When we’re anxious or stressed, our body tightens up and we tend to emphasize our inhales rather than our exhales, ultimately causing our body to become out-of-tune with a healthy breathing flow.
Sometimes when we’re anxious we feel that there’s no way to escape the feeling, but the best part is that we can take control of our anxiety or stress, purely through our breathing patterns.
This is where the 2-to-1 breathing exercise comes in. It causes us to take notice in our breathing and place a greater emphasis on the exhale, while shortening our inhales. It’s as simple as it sounds - inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 8. Try any variation of time that makes you feel most comfortable, as long as you begin to double the length of your exhales.
After practicing this for even just one minute, your body will already start to respond to the healthy breathing flow and begin to release any tension in the body. This breathing pattern is both beneficial for our everyday lives, as well as during our yoga practice.
Benefits of the 2-to-1 Breathing
~ Release of tension in the body
~ Increased flexibility during stretching
~ Ability to go much deeper into poses during your practice
~ Reduces overall stress and anxiety levels
~ Increased levels of focus on tasks without getting flustered or distracted
This is an easy, yet powerful skill to learn. If you give it the focus and patience it requires, you can take control of any stressful moment and put yourself at ease. Allow yourself to take the time to practice this technique and see what positive outcomes follow!