Stress Awareness Month


April is Stress Awareness Month. Stress harms us both physically and mentally. One of the ways we can lessen the effects of stress is through the practice of pranayama, or conscious breathing.

One of the simplest forms of breath control is belly breath, more accurately called deep diaphragmatic breath. I often work with diaphragmatic breathing with new students before we move on to the more involved three-part breath.

Introduction to Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Come to any seated or reclined position with a straight spine
  • Close your eyes. Relax your face and body, and breathe naturally through your nose.
  • Place your one hand or both hands on your low abdomen, a few inches below your belly button.
  • Begin to focus your awareness on your breath as it moves in and out of your body through your nose.
  • On your next breath, begin to lengthen your inhale to a three-count as you feel the natural lift of your belly into your hands.
  • On your exhalation, relax your abdominal muscles and feel the belly drop away from your hands.
  • Continue for three to five rounds before allowing your breath to fall back into its natural rhythms.

As you become more comfortable, you can gradually begin to lengthen both the inhales and exhales to a 10-count as long breath feels smooth and comfortable. You can also gradually extend the practice to around five minutes or longer. If, at any time, you begin to feel light-headed or anxious, discontinue the session.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s