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5 Ways To Calm The Mind

Simple Yet Powerful Techniques You Can Use in 5 Minutes or Less

Meditation in Nature

Our modern day lifestyles keep us so busy that we often feel anxious and overstimulated. We know we need to take a time out, yet it’s hard to find the time. Not to worry! These 5 simple, yet powerful techniques can help calm your mind within minutes. Try one or try them all and see which one(s) serve you best.

Bumble Bee Breath

Bramahri, also known as “bee breath,” is a pranayama (or yogic breathing technique) practice for calming the mind, named for the humming sound that bees make.

Science tells us that singing and chanting stimulate the vagus nerve – the longest nerve in the body, running from the brain to the colon – which is associated with relaxation and regeneration of the body.

HOW TO DO IT: 

Sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Inhale through the nose deeply and then exhale fully, humming with the lips closed. Hum for the entire exhale, keeping the tone and breath steady. 

For a deeper experience, place your fingers gently over the eyes and use the thumbs to close off your ear flaps. By closing off sight and sound, you’ll tap into your inner experience much more. 

Repeat for five rounds total.

After you’ve completed all five rounds, sit with your eyes closed for a few breaths and notice the quality of your thoughts and breathing.

Standing Forward Fold

If you haven’t heard yet, sitting is the new smoking (at least according to my chiropractor). Most of us spend a large part of our day sitting; in other words we sit too much. 

Standing forward folds are one of the best ways to bring the body back into balance, both physically and mentally. This position stretches and lengthens the hamstrings, creates length in the spine, reduces fatigue, and calms the nervous system. That’s a lots of power in one pose!

HOW TO DO IT: 

Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing straight forward.

Exhale and bend forward from the hips (not the waist), keeping the spine long as you fold forward. 

If your hamstrings are tight or if you have lower back issues, bend the knees slightly as you fold.

Let the head fall heavy toward the floor, while pressing the shoulders away from the ears.

Place your hands on your calves or the floor or grab the elbows with the opposite hand to deepen the fold.

Hold for 3-5 breaths. Breathe slowly and deeply in the pose.

To come out of the pose, bring the hands back to the hips. On an inhale, press through the feet, and s-l-o-w-l-y roll back up through the spine, one vertebrae at a time.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Our brain is divided into two sides, or hemispheres. The left brain handles more logical tasks, while the right brain is more intuitive or creative.

Alternate nostril breathing balances those two sides. Research has shown that focusing on the breath automatically helps to calm the mind. Balancing those two sides takes things one step further.

HOW TO DO IT: 

Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Place the two middle fingers of the right hand between your eyebrows (on the third eye).

Use the thumb to block the right nostril. Inhale slowly and deeply.

At the top of the inhale, use the fourth finger to block off the left nostril. Release the thumb and exhale through the right nostril.

You have now completed one full round! Continue for 3-4 more rounds. Sit and breathe normally for a few minutes.

Square Breathing

This technique is one of my all-time faves because it can be done anytime, anywhere. It’s also simple and powerfully effective.

HOW TO DO IT: 

Sit wherever you are, with your eyes open or closed.

Inhale for a count of four. At the top of the inhale, hold your breath for 4 counts.

Exhale for a count of four. At the bottom of the exhale, hold your breath for 4 counts.

Do you see why it’s called square breathing? It’s a four-sided breath: Inhale (4 counts) hold (4 counts) exhale (4 counts) hold (4 counts).

Belly Breathing

When we are stressed, our breathing gets shallow, and that has a harmful effect on our entire nervous system. Try this technique when you can lie down and fully let go.

HOW TO DO IT: 

Lie on your back and close your eyes. Place the right hand on the belly, and the left hand on your heart. Bring your attention to your breath; slow down your inhale and exhale. 

Breathe in deeply and notice how a full breath is actually a three-part breath. The breath fills the chest first, then the diaphragm, and finally the belly. Your hands will help you notice this. As you exhale, this happens in reverse; the belly deflates first.

Continue breathing slowly and deeply. Feel the hands move as your belly expands with each inhale. 

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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