If you’ve ever been to yoga, the chances are that you will have carried out this exercise during the practice. Also called nodi shodhana, the exercise requires you to hold the right nostril closed as you breathe in through the left nostril. Hold the breath for a moment, then gently block the left nostril and breathe out through the right. Repeat a cycle by breathing in through the right, then out through the left. Continue for twenty cycles, or until you start to feel relaxed and sleepy. This is a great way to clear the mind and reduce feelings of anxiousness.
This is a great technique that requires you to engage your mind as you breathe. As you inhale, visualize the breath flowing through your nose, into your throat and filling your lungs. Feel your breath filtering out to fill your whole body, all the way down to the tips of your toes. Hold the breath for a moment, then visualize the breath leaving your body as you exhale. This technique is great for lowering the heart rate and preparing the body for rest.
When the body is anxious, stressed, or frustrated, it often leads to shallow breathing. This means the body gets trapped in a cycle of feeling breathless and stressed, so the best way to counteract it is to trick the mind and body into feeling as though it is ready for rest. Mimic the way you breathe as you are drifting off to sleep by lengthening your breath as you exhale. Inhale through the nose for a count of 3 seconds and out for 6 seconds. Also known as pranayamic breathing, this will help to reset your autonomic nervous system.
Another great yoga breathing technique that is super popular with insomniacs around the world is the 4-7-8 method. This technique works to calm the mind and slow the heart rate, preparing the body for sleep. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds.
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