Coronavirus Lockdown India: Breathing Exercises for Healthy Mind & Body

Deep Breathing for a Healthy Body and Mind

Experiences - Apr 09, 2020

We’ve all felt the strain of stress, which brings headaches, upset tummies, elevated blood pressure and insomnia knocking at our doors. It’s understandable now, with cases of Coronavirus rising to feel a certain sense of stress, the need to isolate and uncertainty about the future.

However, stress can do a lot of damage to your body, and your first priority should be taking care of your health and lowering your stress to manageable levels. There are many ways to do so – meeting a friend, taking a holiday, choosing not to have that second (third or fourth) cup of coffee, daily exercise and more. However, a key part of reducing stress occurs through one, simple action: breathing.

Are you feeling anxious because of Covid19 right now? Take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air, feel your chest expand and collapse as you let air in and out. You’ll notice pretty soon that your stress levels are gradually lowering.

Today, we’re going to share some different ways in which you can calm those frazzled nerves with some simple breathing exercises.

Start the day with some deep breaths:

Waking up in the morning and having a dozen headlines, messages and notifications about Covid19 slam into you, is distressing to say the least. That’s why the first thing you should do, is put aside your phone and focus on these Pranayama (breath control exercises) techniques.

 

Deep Breaths:

Start with some deep belly breaths. Place one hand on your belly and relax your abdominal muscles. Inhale through your nose and feel your abdomen swell, make sure your ribcage expands and your collarbones rise. Pause for a minute and exhale, while pulling your belly back towards your spine to push out any residual air. You should do this at least 5-6 times.

Kapalabhati:

This technique is practiced mainly to cleanse the toxins from your body, release stress, shake off sluggishness and energise you. Sit up (with your back straight), inhale deeply filling about three fourths of your belly (let your belly expand). In one quick motion, exhale, while sucking your belly and navel back to your spine. As your belly expands, inhale again, exhale and collapse the belly. Do this without pause, for as long as you can. You can do 3 sets of 10 seconds each, before increasing the duration.

(Avoid this practice if you’re pregnant, have heart problems or abdominal pain. You should also stop the practice if you feel dizzy or anxious).

Bhastrika:

This technique is used to energise your body and clarify your mind. It can also improve digestion and boost metabolism. Sit up straight, relax your shoulders and start the practice. Bhastrika involves inhaling and exhaling forcefully through your nose. Draw the air in forcefully and let your belly rise, exhale out forcefully and let your belly fall. Inhale and exhale at the rate of one second per cycle. Make sure your breath is coming from the diaphragm and keep your head, neck and shoulders still.

Nadi Shodhana:

This practice – described as alternate nostril breathing – is a simple and powerful way to quieten your mind and a great way to ease anxiety. Breathing through each nostril can help create a wonderful sense of balance – not just physically – but mentally as well. This is ideal for our current situation, where the world feels a bit topsy turvy.

So, sit comfortably, relax with one hand on your lap and bring the other to your face (please do wash your hands thoroughly before doing so). Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Now, hold the air in, and simultaneously close the left nostril, and release and exhale through the right nostril. Keep inhaling through one nostril, and then exhaling through the other for about 10-15 rounds.

Ujjayi:

Ujjaiyi is perfect for restoring balance in the body and can be a release for any pent-up feelings of irritation and frustration. Sit comfortably, with your mouth closed and start breathing in and out through your nose. As you exhale, contract the muscles of your throat to form a low hissing sound.

Each of these exercises have online tutorials, which we would recommend that you watch, in order to get the posture and technique right. 

Some things to keep in mind:

Blow your nose before you start, or keep tissues handy Do not strain, or pursue the practice if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy (the goal here is to decrease your anxiety, not add to it) Make sure you choose a quiet spot in the house to do your practice Make sure you do Kapalabhati and Bhastrika first – as they energise you – before moving on to more calming techniques like Nadi Shodhana Take small breaks in between each practice – a few, mellow deep breaths should do it Start off slow and don’t practice everything in one shot. Practice each technique separately, and add to your routine as your body adjusts Avoid wearing tight clothes while carrying out these breathing techniques Remember to check if any of these practices are unsafe for preexisting concerns. Everyone’s body is different. Do a little research and consult with your doctor before you begin

At Club Mahindra, we believe that holidays are meant to refresh you, so that you can head back to daily life, feeling stronger and well-rested.

We design our resorts, activities and experiences to soothe your stress. From our incredible views, comforting rooms and experiences like our sunrise yoga workshops, we hope to give you a true vacation from stress.

Now that you are home, we believe that it’s important to stay calm and nurture and care for yourself. Small techniques, like a morning breathing routine, can make a big difference. All you have to do - to keep calm - is breathe.

Stay safe, stay at home and together we can beat the Coronavirus!

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