3 Breathing Techniques You Can Use During the Holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner! While it is usually a time for relaxing and celebration, decorating your house or shopping for gifts may still bring stress and fatigue. Especially that is also the time when most people get out of their routines.

The stress and anxiety caused by this season can simply be relieved by staying calm and relaxing. And what better way to do this? Yes, with yoga! Fortunately, the breathing techniques incorporated in the practice of yoga can be done anywhere and anytime on its own or while doing some yoga poses or asanas.

Breathing is an essential function of our bodies. It is something that our body do involuntarily at any time of the day; however, learning to control it can deliver something extra rewarding and beneficial, especially for stress relieve.

Here are three breathing techniques you can use during the holidays:

1. Box Breathing (Vritti Pranayama)

This very easy breathing technique can help you relieve stress immediately. You can do it before you meet other family members or when you feel stressed with all the holiday preparation.

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with eyes closed.
  • Inhale slowly and fill your lungs without shutting your airways.
  • Hold your breath and count to four.
  • Slowly exhale and hold for four counts.
  • Repeat the cycle up to four times.

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

Feeling anxious because of a dreaded family reunion? Or just nervous in seeing people you haven’t seen in a while? This calming and soothing breathing technique can help you relax when you feel nervous or anxious. Its balancing effect on the nervous system does not only help you relax; it can also help you get a restful sleep.

How to do it:

  • Find a quiet and comfortable seat in an easy pose.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee and lift your right hand to your nose.
  • Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Release the right nostril and close the left nostril. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Repeat alternately for five to ten times.

3. Ocean Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama)

While this pranayama’s name came from the sound that it creates, it is a breathing technique that is good for regulating body heat, especially during the winter. With the air passing from the throat to the lungs, internal body heat increases. It also helps release tension in tight areas of the body.

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably in an easy pose.
  • Inhale through the nostrils until your lungs are full.
  • Hold your breath while constricting the back of your throat.
  • Exhale slowly through the nose, creating a sound similar to the ocean wave.
  • Repeat for five to ten times.

Even if the holiday season is the time to enjoy and have fun, you can always count on these easy breathing techniques when things get overwhelming and stressful. These breathing techniques are powerful and will definitely help you get through the holiday season!

Kelly Barnes is a 200-hour hatha yoga teacher. She loves meditation and mindfulness and recently put together a detailed review list of yoga mats.

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