You might think you’ve got the whole breathing thing down. Maybe you’ve even tried the relaxation breathing technique posted on our blog. There are times, however, when cleansing breaths are not sufficient. During times of intense stress, try these techniques:

Ujjayi breathing. When done properly, Ujjayi (translated as “victorious”) breathing should be both energizing and relaxing. Breathe deeply in the belly, through the nose only for both the inhale and the exhale. The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against this resistance creates a well-modulated and soothing sound—something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out.

Alternative nostril breathing. Breathing through your left nostril is calming, while breathing through the right is energizing. Really! So, 1) Sit in a comfortable position, with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. 2) Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril then close the left nostril with the right pinky and exhale through the right side. 3) Repeat with the opposite side (close left nostril with left thumb, inhale; close right nostril with left pink and exhale). 4) Continue for 2 or 3 minutes minimum, alternating between left and right nostril.

Lion’s breath. To open the lungs and maximize breathing capacity while lowering stress, try the lion’s breath. Deeply inhale and exhale deeply with your tongue out, producing a loud roaring “ha” sound. Stretch your mouth wide open and extend your tongue as far as it will go.

“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub” (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross).

If you don’t mind looking a little silly, you might find that peace right at your desk. Perhaps you can share this blog with your office mates, so you’ll all be able to serenely imagine that the ocean or African jungle are nearby.


Want more ideas for kicking stress to the curb? Contact Humanergy.

Photo from istockphoto.