Yoga: Use Your Breath to Calm Your Mind

Yoga is a 6000-year-old form of exercise which not only disciplines the body but conditions the mind as well.

The practice of yoga is largely thought of as just the asanas (postures and exercises), but breath is really at the heart of yoga. Some have said "if you can breathe, then you can do yoga". The use of breathing techniques to quiet your mind is one of the primary objectives of yoga.

By regularly taking the time for yoga, you will become very conscious of your breathing. You will train yourself to control your breath, which will help you become calm and relaxed. As well, the form of your asanas will improve the more you focus on your breathing.

Our minds tend to wander; thinking of the future and the past constantly. With yoga, you'll train yourself to consider the present - where we are, where our bodies exist. The practice of yoga through breathing techniques helps you to draw your thoughts inward and release all of your worries and tensions.

One of the energizing aspects of yoga is that it teaches you the ability to be deeply aware of the present moment, at the same times as you are letting go of the worries and concerns that can cause stress and illness in your body.

Yoga teaches the practice of conscious breathing while doing poses - this fosters consciousness of your technique and greater mental alertness. By drawing your mind into the moment and forgetting all else, you will garner the benefits which yoga has to offer.

While there are a number of yoga breathing exercises associated with yoga which will teach you how to release tension and balance your mind, as a start, try the following exercise.

* Lie or sit comfortably and become aware of your normal state of breathing.

* Still aware of your breath, inhale and exhale 4 counts each several times.

* Next, increase your inhalation and exhalations to 5 counts each.

* Then increase the count to 6 for each inhalation and exhalation. Become aware of your body - make sure that it is relaxed.

* Continue this way until your inhalations and exhalations reach 9 counts. If this is causing you any discomfort, drop the count back down to more comfortable number for you.

* Keep bringing your mind back to your body to check to see if there is any tension anywhere. If there is, try to relax that part of your body.

* Whatever your final number of breaths is, continue breathing with long breaths for several rounds, then drop the counting and breathe naturally for 10 rounds.

What you can gain from this exercise - as you can from a number of other yogic breathing exercises, is the capacity to still your mind and relax your body through mastery over your breath. With some practice, you will become an expert at this technique, able to achieve a state of relaxation any time you are under stress and feeling tense.

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Yoga: Use Your Breath to Calm Your Mind
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