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A Simple Yet Effective Breathing Practice to Calm the Nervous System

Mar 27, 2022
There is a tool that is always with us that we can use to bring ease and calm into the body and mind. And that tool is as close as our next inhale and exhale.

 According to Ayurveda, we are all made up of the 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and space (ether). The elements all have their own qualities.

I'm going to focus on the two elements of air and ether

You cannot grasp air and ether. Think of trying to grab the wind with your hand. You cannot. But you can grab a handful of dirt (earth element).

So air and ether are erratic and unstable.

And now imagine a pail full of air or ether (space). It would feel empty and very light to carry compared to a bucket full of dirt (earth element).

So this makes air and ether also light in weight.

So we want to bring in opposite qualities - opposite qualities balance. So think stable, heavy and grounded.

These 2 qualities can help balance the elements of air and space, especially when we have an overabundance of those two elements, which can cause an imbalance in our body and mind. 

And with all the events happening now around the world, many people are in a constant fight and flight mode, which ends up causing anxiety, worry and stress. An increase in anxiety and stress can increase the elements of air and space within us.

To ease anxiety and worry that can come from being in an almost-constant fight and flight mode, I'm sharing a breathing technique I use myself and occasionally in the yoga classes I teach as well.

It's called 4-Count Breath or Square Breathing.

You can change the count of the breath, but I like 4 to start off with, and then you can increase it if you wish.

All you do is sit comfortably. Watch your body breathe for a few rounds. Then start the practice by inhaling and silently counting to 4, then pause the breath for a count of 4, exhale to a count of 4, then pause the breath at the end of the exhale to a count of 4.

If pausing the breath is too much for you at times, then skip the pausing and inhale and then exhale to a count of 4.

Repeat for 3-10 minutes.

Then allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm. Watch your body breathe again for a few rounds.

Most importantly, notice how you feel after and that's it.

Repeat daily.

Consistency is key!

Have a wonderful breathing practice and feel the calming and grounding effects.

inhale - enjoy - exhale,

- gina

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