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Yoga: Use Your Breath to Calm Your Mind

Jul 1, 2008
Yoga is a 6000-year-old form of exercise which not only disciplines the body but conditions the mind as well.

The practice of yoga is largely thought of as just the asanas (postures and exercises), but breath is really at the heart of yoga. Some have said "if you can breathe, then you can do yoga". The use of breathing techniques to quiet your mind is one of the primary objectives of yoga.

The regular practice of yoga will make you intimately acquainted with yoga. You'll learn proper techniques for breathing which will produce relaxation and stress relief and also help you to achieve better posture.

It is in our nature to let our minds drift into concerns of the future and the past. But our bodies are only alive in the present. Through the performance of yoga, you can learn how to focus your mind on your body and let go of all of your worries, all through proper breathing.

Yoga can help to prevent stress and disease by letting you do this - letting go of these harmful, stressful thoughts, even for a short time, restores your body and mind to a healthy balanced state. Focusing on the present is what brings about this benefit.

Yoga teaches the practice of conscious breathing while doing poses - this fosters consciousness of your technique and greater mental alertness. By drawing your mind into the moment and forgetting all else, you will garner the benefits which yoga has to offer.

The following breathing exercise is a simple method of practicing yoga that will help you to let go of stress and balance your mind.

* Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and become attuned to your normal breathing patterns.

* Still aware of your breath, inhale and exhale 4 counts each several times.

* Now, increase your inhalation and exhalations to 5 counts each.

* Next, increase your inhalations and exhalations to 6 counts each. This time try to become aware of your body - making sure you are not tensed.

* Continue increasing your inhalations and exhalations all the way up to 9 counts. If you feel that this is causing you any stress, drop the count back down to a number that is comfortable for you.

* Keep focusing on your body and be aware of any tension. Make a conscious effort to relax any parts of your body that are tense.

* Whatever number of counts you reach, continue breathing with these long breaths for several rounds, then stop counting and breathe normally for 10 rounds.

What you should learn from this and any other yoga breathing exercise is to still your thoughts and relax your mind so that you are conscious of your body. Over time, you will gain control of your breathing and you will be able to draw on its power to calm yourself during stressful moments.
About the Author
Kim Archer enjoys the health benefits and relaxation of yoga. A great source of information on this restorative practice can be found at Yoga Essentials.
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