Do Yoga, Skip the Rest. ™
This seven minute breathing exercise is an excellent way to combat anxiety, find peace of mind and still the mind. I like to practice this exercise every morning to start my day. This breathing exercise that includes mudras has literally changed my life. The key is practicing every day. Keep one hand resting on our abdomen so we can experience the rise and fall of our breath by physically feeling the inhale and exhale. This helps gives us a physical awareness of the power of our breath. Take seven minutes from your day to breathe deep and practice this breathing exercise for anxiety or cultivating better health each day with consistent regular deep breathing. We use the ujayi breathing -victorious breath, in-and-out through the nose for this breath exercise.
It’s important to find a comfortable position in easy posture-Sukhasana, or padmasana. Make sure the shoulders are open, hips are comfortable and the neck is aligned over the spine, with the chin parallel to our yoga mats as we sit upright and make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
You can place a pillow under the hips to lower knees. Or if your hips are too tight for sitting on the yoga mat, you can sit upright in a chair, too. Just make sure you keep the back straight with the focus of bringing the navel to the spine.
Breathing exercises are slightly different then meditation. This seven minute breathing exercise includes counting each breath on our fingers (visually seeing the number and repeating the number in our mind) beginning with the pinky finger and working our way to the thumb.
On our fifth breath, open the palm flat on your knee, with fingers facing toward the ground.
When you finished counting the first five breaths, change hands.
Place one hand in the center of the belly, other hand resting on opposite knee.
Begin traveling from the pinky finger to the thumb and open hand for breath number five, the granting boon gesture -Varada Mudra in Sanskrit.
After finishing breath 10, we place our hand in the center of our hearts for breath eleven.
If you are seated on a yoga mat, switch your feet up now. Get comfortable. Settle in.
Aline the spine with the neck and keep the spine straight, avoiding scooped out lower back.
Repeat everything already written above one more time.
It’s a total of 22 deep breaths that incorporates using mudras to ground us and bring our
focus inward and away from our immediate surroundings.
I began practicing this breathing exercise that I wove together from learning different meditation exercises over the years.
I am a 500 hour RYT yoga teacher and teach weekly yoga classes locally in San Diego, California. I have studied pranayama breathing exercises for over 25 years now, learning from my first teacher, Michiko Jane Rolek, my mindfulness coach for seven years.
Links on the science of Mudra and positive benefits by practicing mudras-
Mudras in Yoga, The Meaning and Science Behind It (sadhguru.org)
71 Yoga Mudras: Get Surprising Benefits in 29 Days, Supported by Science – Fitsri