by Parmjit Singh, PhD
This is powerful method to neutralize constant stress we experience. By engaging in the following exercise either at work or at home can definitely reduce the stress.
• Sit comfortably on a chair or lie down. Loosen up your shoes.
• Let your body be comfortable with your hands lying in your lap (if sitting) or beside your body, if lying down.
• Gently close your eyes and try to breathe in and out through the nose.*
• Breathe into the lowest part of stomach. Establish a comfortable breathing cycle. Try to make your breathing as deep as possible without straining your lungs.
• Once you feel relaxed, scan your body using your mind’s eye starting from the scalp down to the toes and look for any specific stress spots where tension is accumulated. Pay attention to your face, neck and shoulder muscles. These are the areas where the likelihood of stress accumulation is higher.
• Once you have located the stress spots, focus your breath on it. Each time you breathe out, imagine you are throwing the accumulated tension from that spot. You can visualize a dark cloud flowing out of your nose when you breathe out. Do this five times or more until you feel completely relaxed at that spot. Then move over to the next sore spot.
• By using this method, cleanse your whole body from excessive stress. Once you have accomplished this, quickly scan your body once again from head to toes and release any remaining tension. Do it for 10-15 minutes.
• At this stage, your body should feel relaxed and mind should be refreshed.
Benefits: Reduction of stress, tension, blood pressure, fatigue, headache, body pains, and nervousness. Enhancement of joy, happiness, concentration, immune function and a sense of well-being.
*Breathing correctly is the hallmark of yogic and meditation practices. Different parts of nervous system are activated when we breathe through nose or mouth. Breathing through nose stimulates parasympathetic nervous system thereby inducing a sense of relaxation while mouth-breathing activates sympathetic nervous system responsible for activating stress response. Prolonged out-breath also reduces activity in amygdala of our brain.