Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Banish Burnout! Three Easy Yoga Breathing Exercises to Ease Your Stress at Work

Stress is the leading cause of occupational ill health in the UK.

As a Yoga Teacher, I see many students suffer from the physical and emotional symptoms of work place stress, for example, head/neck aches, snapping at colleagues, tiredness, ulcers and a general sense of overwhelm and worry.

The causes of work-place stress are quite obvious. There is the constant demand for your time and attention from multiple sources, deadlines and competing priorities, work presentations too name just a few. Learning how to relax and respond to these demands requires patience, skill and an ability to know, for example, when to stop and rest, when to say "no" and when to delegate task.

Known as pranayama, yoga breathing exercises, offer you an easy way to support your body to deal more efficiently with stressful conditions.

Good breathing is healthy breathing. Your breath is your connection to your life. You can survive for about six weeks without food and a few days without water. But without breathing, you would not survive for more than a few minutes.

In my experience as a yoga teacher, I notice that many students do not know how to breathe correctly, which has a knock-on effect on your physical, emotional and mental health.

Most students tend to breathe shallow, irregular and rapid. In extreme cases, you may forget to breathe during long periods of focused work. When you breathe correctly, you bring in rich oxygen into the body and help to eliminate carbon dioxide buildup in the body.

Learning to breathe correctly helps to release the symptoms of anxiety and tension. As you practice the following three yoga breathing exercises, you will notice that you feel calmer, more relaxed and able to produce a higher quality of work.

Three Easy Yoga Breathing Exercises To Ease Your Stress At Work

To help reduce stress and tension at work practice the following easy-to-do yoga breathing exercises, which you can do in your chair, at your desk. As with all yoga breathing exercises, be gentle, respect and listen to your body. If you feel uncomfortable, stop the exercise and return to normal breathing.

1. Counted Breath

• Sit comfortably on a chair, rest your hands on your thighs, uncross your ankles, place your feet apart flat on the floor and close your eyes.
• Next breathe in slowly through your nostrils for a count of four and slowly breathe out, throughout your nostrils for a count of four.
• Repeat this sequence of breathing in for 4 and out for 4 for 3 - 5 rounds.

Slowly open your eyes and remain seated for a few more moments before engaging with your day.

2. Deep Yogic Breathing

Either sit comfortably, arms relaxed, nice straight spine and feet resting firmly on the floor or lie down on your bed.
• Place your right palm on your lower abdomen and your left palm on your upper chest, just below your collar bones.
• Breathe slowly in through your nose and as you do so, consciously focus on sending your breath from your right hand up to your left hand, be aware of the hands raising on the in-breath and slowly lowering on the out breathe.
• Repeat this deep yogic breathing for 3 - 5 more times, each time, allowing the breath to be fuller and deeper.

3. Simple Alternate Nostril Breathing

Sit with your back straight and gently close your lips.
• Rest your left hand on your left thigh, hands facing upward and position your right hand in Vishnu Mudra (for Vishnu Mudra, extend the thumb, ring finger, and little finger of your right hand and fold down your other two fingers into your palm.)
• Close your right nostril with your right thumb and breathe in through your left nostril for a count of 4. Close your left nostril with your ring and little fingers.
• Lift your right thumb and breathe out through your right nostril for a count of 8. Then breathe in through the same nostril for a count of 4.
• Close your right nostril with your thumb and lift your fingers to exhale through your left nostril to a count of 8.

Repeat this sequence 5 - 10 times.

As you go through your day, take time, to be aware of your breathing and to practice at least one of the above yoga breathing exercises to reduce work-place stress. You will feel calmer, more alert, engerised and more importantly, relaxed.

"And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to my Special Report "Yoga Exercises and Breathing Exercises to Ease You Into Your Day" when you visit - Use these easy yoga exercise to gently stretch your body awake and start your day with a smile and a peaceful mind."

From Ntathu Allen - Sivananda Yoga Teacher and Registered Polarity Therapist.

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