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De-stress-10 Minutes

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 De-stress-10 Minutes

These are just quickie exercises towards you getting rid of that dodgy stress. We all know this time of year represents huge stress levels from work, too many parties, buying the Christmas presents and so-forth.

Penny Loosemore advocates performing easy-to-remember stress-busting exercises I’ve outlined here, which incorporate aspects of yoga and the traditional Chinese breathing practice qi gong, you can turn the Christmas madness into festive cheer.

Brahmari means Bumble bee. In this breathing practice your lips are supposed to be shut, and you are supposed to gently and smoothly make a sound like a humming bee in your throat. This simple practice is very helpful in making the breath smooth and quieting the mind. You can feel the sound vibrations in your throat, jaws, and face. This practice is so simple and straightforward, it can be done by anyone, regardless of age or background.

It’s a kind of breathing exercise that develops powers of concentration memory and confidence. The extended, buzzing exhalation makes it very beneficial for pregnant women, in preparation for labor. Brahmari is sometimes known as humming breath and also renders a sweet clear voice to the practitioner. Hence it is highly recommended for singers.

Brahmari, or “humming bee breath”, is an ancient technique. It’s perfect for “stilling” a busy mind and the extra oxygen recharges the whole body. Seated or standing, take a deep breath in through the nose and exhale with mouth open, emitting a continuous buzzing sound, like a bee. Make the exhalation as long and slow as you can. Repeat up to 10 times, increasing the length of the out-breath each time.

One principle of yoga is that inverted positions - hanging upside down, essentially - are fantastic for depression and anxiety as well as stimulating the circulation and brain function. But they’re hard to do at work. So here’s something you can try in a quiet room at the office when you can feel the stress of work building up. From a standing start, bend from the hips, keeping the back as straight as possible, lowering your head until you are comfortable in a forward “hang”. Stay for a couple of minutes and focus on keeping the breath nice and relaxed. This is good for mental clarity and for the heart.

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