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3 Breathing Exercises to Manage Stress

Whether you are on your yoga mat or out living life in the real world, yoga breathing techniques are great tools to utilize whenever you need to clear and calm your mind and body. Give yourself 5-10 minutes each day of "me" time with one of these controlled breathing exercises.

Belly Breathing-this breathing technique is also called diaphragmatic breathing and is excellent for those who experience anxiety. Belly Breathing can decrease your heart rate, lower your stress level, and strengthen your diaphragm which lessens the need for energy exertion when breathing.

Start by lying on your back, option to bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach just below your rib cage. Breathe in slowly through your nose filling your belly with air. You should feel your hand rise on your stomach, but your hand on your chest should remain still. Then exhale through your mouth and allow your stomach to lower. Your chest always remains still.

Repeat for 10 cycles.

Alternate Nostril Breath-this type of breathing practice is great for stress and mental clarity. Alternate Nostril Breathing can rejuvenate the nervous system and help clear and refocus your mind.

Start by sitting up straight with your legs crossed. Make a fist with your hand, extend your pinky and thumb. Press your thumb to your right nos

tril and inhale slowly through your left. Then press your pinky to your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Continue to alternate inhales and exhales.

Repeat for 10 cycles.

Square Breathing-this technique is beneficial not only to reduce stress, but also to prepare for meditation.

Start by sitting up straight either on the floor or in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor. Relax your hands in your lap. Begin by slowly exhaling through your mouth, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Feel the air fill up your lungs one section at a time until you feel the air moving into your abdomen. Hold your breath for another slow count of four. Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and belly. Hold your breath for the same slow count of four before repeating this process.

Repeat for 10 cycles.

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