We all have to manage stress on a daily basis—whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional—and though each of our lives are different from the next person’s, one thing is certain: If we don’t find a way to release it, stress will continue to build up and create toxins, inflammation within our bodies and minds.
In this anti-inflammatory (yin) breathing practice, you’ll immediately feel the tension leave your body as you shift to a more relaxed, calm and controlled state.
There’s no preparation required. And you can do this standing, sitting or lying down.
Here's the anti-inflammatory breathing technique:
1. Right here, right now, bring all your awareness to your breath. Shift your focus down to your tummy and allow it to soften as you deepen your breath, tuning into the inhalation and exhalation.
2. Now mentally repeat to yourself, on the in-breath, “calm.” On the out-breath, “relax."
3. Next, start the yin (anti-inflammatory) breathing sequence of inhaling through your nose for 5 seconds, holding your breath for 20 seconds and then exhaling for 10 seconds. Always breathe into and out of the tummy. You can deepen your exhalation by gently contracting the tummy muscles, to push more air out of the lungs.
4. Do 10 rounds of the yin breathing sequence and see how you feel after this. To induce deeper relaxation, just keep going, and continue to feel more tension melt away.
That's it! Simple and quick.
Holding your breath between the in and out breath helps to still the mind. And then exhaling for double the length of the inhalation (or longer, if you wish to prolong the "letting go" effect) engages your para-sympathetic nervous system. Your body's healing tool!
Because the para-sympathetic nervous system decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, releases tension and supports digestion plus, immune activity. Don’t be surprised if your stomach starts gurgling, as your body relaxes.
If you find the 5, 20, 10 sequence too much at first, start with a 2, 8, 4 or a 3, 12, 6 sequence. And then slowly work your way up to the 5, 20, 10 sequence.
Try to do this anti-inflammatory breathing technique at least once a day. Just a few minutes spent on focused breathing can make a huge difference to your mental, physical and emotional state.
Do share your breathing exercise experience in the comments below.
Hi, I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Pain & Stress Management Therapist, and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.
I help people elevate their mind and body health by addressing diet, nutrition and lifestyle symptoms. Let's work together to optimize how you feel and function.
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