TODAY’S TOPIC: BREATHING THROUGH THE COVID-19
There is a lot going on around us in our world and it is important that we take a moment to take care of ourselves.
Conversations will not be canceled. Relationships will not be canceled. Love will not be canceled. Songs will not be canceled. Reading will not be canceled. Self-care does not need to be canceled. Hope above all things, will not be canceled.
It feels like everything is being canceled: events, jobs, plans, etc. This is creating a sense of nervousness and a feeling of being stuck. There are so many negative feelings floating around right now, and albeit perfectly normal, but fear and overwhelm are becoming as much of a pandemic as COVID-19 itself!
You have a choice. You can also shift those feelings to calm, joy, and love because those too are contagious. My offering to you is to be selective about what you allow to bring in. It is easy to look at the stock markets and see our equity portfolios have dropped, to look around the grocery store, and see the lack of food and supplies. It is easy to allow the panic to set in.
Below are three empowered breathing techniquess to help destress during COVID-19: ujjayi, anuloma viloma nadi shodhana and bhramari.
VICTORIOUS BREATHING TECHNIQUE TO DECREASE STRESS DURING COVID-19
This technique is called ujjayi or the "victorious" breath. It can keep you grounded and present. It is one that I personally do when I am running around doing errands and need to take a moment to be still. This technique could be done stand or sitting somewhere comfortable with your feet planted firmly to the ground.
How: Either sit or stand, straighten your back, relax your eyes, and feel your feet push into the ground of the earth. Feel your feet push so far into the earth until they meet the core. Now take a deep breath in through your nose using your stomach, rib cage, and shoulders, exhale through your mouth. Repeat this technique until you feel calm and relaxed.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING TECHNIQUE TO DECREASE STRESS DURING COVID-19
The next technique is called nadi shodhana or "alternate nostril breath". The idea behind this breathing exercise is to feel the energy flow through the left and right nostrils. This also allows for oxygen to enter both hemispheres of the brain. You may feel that one side is more clogged than the other which is normal. It is important to start and end with the left side. This is a very cooling method that is great for hot flashes, hives, acne or other pitta imbalances.
How: Using your right hand, cover your right nostril with your thumb, inhale through your left, now cover your left nostril with your pinky, hold your breath, release your right nostril and exhale. Repeat this cycle by inhaling through the right nostril. Now, take it to the full extent of the posture by putting your peach keepers (index and middle finger) at the third eye and use your thumb and ring finger to repeat this process.
BUMBLEBEE BREATHING TECHNIQUE TO DECREASE STRESS DURING COVID-19
The last technique that we are going to cover today is called the bumblebee method. This technique brings a lot of energy to the brain by vibration. You will take your thumbs and plug your ears and your fingers to cover your eyes. This will block out your senses so you can be present. You will inhale normally but during your exhale you will hum. Your tongue should begin to relax, and you may even feel it vibrate. The technique allows you to feel, be present, and bring you out of this hysteria that you may be feeling.
How: After completing a breathing technique take notice of how you are feeling. Do you feel relaxed, connected, disconnected, energized? There is no right or wrong answer but it is important that you recognize those feelings.
GRATITUDE TECHNIQUE TO DECREASE STRESS DURING COVID-19
The idea of finding gratitude in things we do not feel angry, we are less scared, jealous, hateful, etc. If you are truly grateful in that moment, then all of those negative feelings cannot penetrate that gratitude. The practice of being grateful is to find something to be grateful for even during the hardest times. Take stock of all the things to be grateful for no matter how big or small.
How: Write down three things that you are grateful for and continue to do this daily.
TAKE ACTION: BREATH THROUGH COVID-19
My invitation to you is to control what you can. If you try to control things that you have no control over then that is when overwhelm will set in. Take control of how you perceive the world around you. Take control of the things that you say. Take control of how you breathe. That has a profound impact and that is as pandemic as COVID-19.
View this episode of wellness Wednesday to learn stress-relieving breathing techniques such as ujjai pranayama (victorious breath), nadi shodhana pranayama (alternate-nostril breath), and bramari pranayama (bumble bee breath). Also tune in to learn why a gratitude practice is so valuable.