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Breathe In Calm, Breathe Out Fear

Next time you’re overwhelmed, nervous, or afraid, try mindful breathing and meditation.

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Mindfulness and pranayama are powerful practices that can quiet the mind, awaken energy, and help you through stressful situations. This was demonstrated by researchers at Sapienza University of Rome, who had hospital health care workers use such practices for four weeks during the pandemic.

After participants did a body scan followed by a mindful breathing technique and then a walking meditation, they reported feeling 20 percent less anxious, nervous, and apprehensive.

Next time you’re overwhelmed, nervous, or afraid, try mindful breathing and meditation. The following technique, known as the Miracle Breath, creates awareness and balances emotions.

  • Sit in Sukhasana (Easy Pose) with your hands resting on your knees and your palms facing upward.
  • Close your eyes. Roll them up and inward, as if you’re looking at your third eye—the point between your eyebrows. Maintain your focus at your brow point.
  • Then, pucker your lips, leaving them slightly open.
  • Inhale through your mouth for a count of 4, making a soft sound like sucking air through a straw. Then press the tip of your tongue into your upper palate. Hold for 4 seconds, then exhale completely through your nose.
  • Continue breathing for 1–3 minutes.

This story is part of Yoga Journal’s Special Report: How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health

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