Let’s face it, even with the best will in the world and plenty of forward planning, the festive season can be a stressful time. With busy crowds, lots of social engagements and most likely not enough sleep and greens it’s easy to find your blood pressure rising and tempers fraying. Try out this easy breathing technique that anybody can do, anywhere, anytime.
- Imagine the shape of a triangle, with your nostrils forming the base corners and the space between your eyebrows forming the top.
- Direct your mental focus to the left nostril, following your breath in from the base to the tip of the triangle.
- Exhale, bringing focus to following the breath from the tip of the triangle, out of the right nostril.
- Inhale, focus moves from right nostril to the tip of the triangle, between the eyebrows. Exhale, focusing on the breath passing down the triangle to exit from the left nostril.
- This makes up one round.
- As you become used to directing the mental focus of where the breath travels, you can introduce altering the breath pattern to extend the exhalations.
- Ideally, work with a ratio of 1:2 e.g. inhale for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 8. If this feels too much to begin with, you could always take a ratio of 1:1.5 or make the whole breath count shorter. The key thing is that the exhalation is longer than your inhalation.
Our breath is the only conscious control we have over our nervous systems. By learning to control the breath, bringing more focus to the exhalation, you can help your body to tap into its parasympathetic nervous system, moving from fight or flight, into a state of rest and digest. The focus on directing the breath to each side helps to bring both sides of the body into balance. We tend to naturally be more dominant on one side of our brain, be that the logical left or creative right. With this exercise, you can start to balance the energy between the two sides.
There are further progressions of this exercise that I’ll cover in future posts, but for now, this is the most accessible method to use when you find yourself 2 aisles deep queuing for the big Christmas food shop and are looking to breathe some instant calm into your body.