(CNN)A worldwide pandemic is more than enough to induce excess stress. Many people have had to deal with a changing work life and family life, leading to uncertainty. Having a moment of mindfulness with breathwork at the beginning of the day can help add consistency and structure to your routine.
Start your day with breathing exercises for stress relief
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A regular routine can help those who are feeling stressed from the pandemic decrease their anxiety levels, according to research. When it comes to a morning routine, all you need to get started is your body and breath. Mindfulness meditation can even improve concentration and decision-making, studies have shown.
As a yoga instructor, I have prepared these breathing exercises to relax your body and mind while giving you energy for your day.
Yoga and meditation involve breathing in and out through the nose. This fully engages the diaphragm -- the main breathing muscle -- and allows for a deeper and calmer breath. Cardio and strength training require you to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth to release carbon dioxide efficiently.
These five simple breathing exercises address different breath patterns. Each exercise will invigorate your mind and body to start the day. Perform one of these exercises for two to three minutes each morning.
You have probably practiced this type of breathing if you have taken yoga classes, but I often find that many of my clients are unsure how to begin.
Find somewhere comfortable and quiet to sit where you won't be distracted.
Breathe deeply through your nose for five seconds, counting in your head. Then slowly breathe out through your nose for five seconds. Focus only on the movement of your breath.
As you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts, drawing air into your lungs. The diaphragm moves down as it tightens, pushing the abdominal contents downward and expanding the abdominal wall outward. When you breathe out, the diaphragm relaxes and air passes out of the lungs while the abdominal wall flattens.
This is also known as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. When practiced consistently, it helps you relax, lowers your heart rate, boosts your metabolism and can even help lower blood pressure.
Alternate nostril breathing is another type of breathing you may have heard of in a yoga class. This type of breathing can be done during meditation or simply to relax.
Sitting comfortably, put your left hand on your left knee and your right hand toward your nose.
After exhaling, use your right thumb to cover your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril.
Then use your pointer finger to close the left nostril and release your thumb on your right nostril. Exhale through your right nostril.