SEGMENTED BREATH FOR ANXIETY
(The Art, Science & Application of Kundalini Yoga, Nirvair Singh Khalsa, p. 67).
Posture: Sit in easy pose or in a chair with your spine straight.
Focus: The eyes are closed and focused at the third eye point.
Breath: This is an unequal breathing rhythm done in segments or sniffs. All inhales and exhales are done through the nose in a 1:2 ratio (inhale is half as long as the exhale). The breath is segmented into small equal sniffs and is done b a small inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale and then twice as many exhales done in the same fashion. Keep the breath smooth in the transition, not holding the breath in or out.
Inhale in eight slow, even and rhythmic segments. Exhale in four, slow, even and rhythmic segments. Make the breath very smooth in transition. When the lungs are full, empty them and when the lungs are empty, fill them again. If you can extend the count even more with comfort, then that is wonderful. For example, you would inhale in eight segments and exhale in sixteen segments.
Mantra: Mentally hear the mantra, “Sa Ta Na Ma.” Inhale “Sa Ta Na Ma,” exhale, “Sa Ta Na Ma, Sa Ta Na Ma.” You can also use an affirmation like, “I am, I am” on the inhale and “I am, I am, I am, I am” on the exhale.
Mudra: Hands can be folded in the lap or in the Gyan Mudra hand position (pad of the index finger and thumb touching) with the arms straight and the edges of the hands at the knees.
Time: 3 to 11 minutes.
End: Inhale deeply, then briefly hold your breath, exhale and relax.
Benefits: This segmented breath in a 1:2 ration will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and can help relieve anxiety.