I think one of the best ways to reduce anxiety and help with insomnia is to meditate. My favorite meditation technique is this One Minute Meditation. It pumps oxygen into your brain so your brain begins to feel from the heart rather than think from the mind. Let your heart be in the driver’s seat for a minute versus the controlling interests and needs of your mind.
I’m going to teach you this technique – and it is a wonderful meditation for relief of anxiety. It starts with pumping oxygen into your brain, and it ends with a breathing technique called Ujjayi breathing, which is a kind of nasal breathing, deeply in through the nose and out through the nose after we pump prana, or life force into your nervous system. You start with about 30 seconds of bellows breathing, and follow that with about 30 seconds of silence and calm Ujjayi breathing. Often times this pumps enough energy into your nervous system to give you the ability to be calmer and settle your mind.
Breathe for about 30 seconds using a Bhastrika or bellows breath. Then, breathe for the next 30 seconds doing an Ujjayi breath.
- Bhastrika (bellows breath): Breathe deep through your nose, in and out, using all five lobes of your lungs like a big bellows. Use your lungs in and out as much as you can, only in and only out through your nose. You do that for about 30 seconds. Our upper lungs have stress receptors that get activated when our breath is shallow, which is how most of us breath throughout the day. When we use our lower lungs, like in bhastrika, we activate calm receptors that soothe our nervous system.
- Ujjayi breath: This is kind of the classic yoga breath where you actually do a snoring or ocean sound through your nose. Constrict your stomach muscles and force that snoring sound out through your nose. Do that for about 30 seconds. Then you just meditate.
Sit comfortably, sit up straight in your chair. Do bellows breath as deep in and as deep out as you can for 30 seconds and follow this with 30 seconds of silence breathing through an ujjayi or ocean breath.
- If you would like to meditate longer, you can start by doing Bhastrika breath for 30 seconds.
- Then use Ujjayi breath and sit quietly until you start thinking again. When you feel thoughts resurfacing, do Bhastrika for 10-20 seconds to quiet your mind.
- Sit quietly again using Ujjayi breath until thoughts arise and follow once again with Bhastrika for 10-20 seconds.
- Repeat this cycle until you feel you are done meditating.
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