I have experienced a full-blown panic attack once in my life about 10 years ago. I was flying back home from my mom’s funeral and in the middle of the eight-hour flight my heart suddenly started racing, I was covered in cold sweat, struggling to breathe. The feeling was so intense that I was thinking that I was going to die. I also had a strong urge to jump up and start running along the isle screaming. Needless to say, this wouldn’t be a good idea in the middle of an international flight. Luckily I had enough presence of mind to instruct myself: “Breathe in…breathe out…breathe in…breathe out…” By focusing strictly on my breath and gradually making it deeper and deeper I was able to pull myself out of the emergency stress response. It took about 20 minutes.
This is the beauty of breath – it has a direct effect on our physiology, and anybody can do it anytime anywhere. To make your breathing more effective it helps to go through the following steps:
- Focus your attention to the breath
- Gradually deepen the inhalation and lengthen the exhalation
- Link breath and movement (if doing movement)
- Emphasize exhalation for langhana effect and inhalation for brhmana effect.
The yoga practice below is a gentle langhana practice done entirely in a chair. It is meant for students who cannot do a lot of movement (because of pain, circumstances or other reasons), or anybody who could use a short breath-centered practice. The practice takes you through the four steps above and culminates in Anuloma Ujjayi technique (Alternate nostril exhalation). It is meant to help you let go of agitation and help you tolerate uncomfortable emotions and sensations.
This practice has been added to Sequence Wiz home yoga practice app. You can find it under Energy > Hyper > 20-40 minutes. Learn more about the app >