We need to rethink yoga. It’s no secret that yoga can effectively reduce anxiety. Yet, the irony is that many people feel intimidated or anxious about trying yoga. Today I have a way you can use yoga to reduce anxiety that anyone can practice and it really speaks to the heart of yoga. And the cool thing is it will get you breathing deeply without having to focus on your breath as you rethink yoga.
Rethink Yoga to Reduce Anxiety
When I teach yoga, I aim to create an experience that is much more than a group of postures that require special clothes and a sticky mat. One important branch of yoga is what we call pranayama. The word “prana” means “life force energy” and “yama” means “control” or “restraint.” When we put these two together, we have a practice that centers on breath control (Yoga for Anxiety, Stress and Depression).
But if you’re like me, you might experience times when you’re having an anxiety attack and breathing exercises only make anxiety worse. This is really why I love this technique that rethinks yoga; you don’t have to focus on your breath for it to work.
What’s the Bee’s Breath Technique?
There’s an ancient yogic humming technique called Brahmari Pranayama or “bee’s breath.” By humming in this way, we shift our attention to the sound and our sensory experience, which can help calm anxiety. And as you’ll see, this yoga technique automatically elongates the exhalation, which helps to calm our parasympathetic nervous system. A recent study by the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine supports these physiological effects.1
How to Do the Bee’s Breath Technique
- Lie on your back or sit in a comfortable position.
- Take a full inhalation through your nose and then let out a slow hum with the lips sealed.
- Repeat 12-15 times or until you feel some anxiety relief.
- Experiment with closing your ears with your fingers for a few rounds and notice which method you prefer.
Always remember that anxiety may need to be managed through a variety of way. These techniques are meant to be complementary tools to help manage stress and anxiety symptoms, but please speak to a mental health professional if you are experiencing debilitating anxiety.
1 Maheshkumar Kuppusamya , M., Kamaldeena, D., Pitanib, R., Amaldasc, J., & Shanmugamd, P. (2017, March 18). Effects of Bhramari Pranayama on health – A systematic review. Retrieved August 18, 2017.