In collaboration with HERE for you for them
Parenting comes with its fair share of worries, anxiety and, well, stress. So how come some parents seem to do a better job at ‘handling’ stress than others? Perhaps they are more stress resilient? Yogic breathing is a practice that can help us build stress resilience.
When we possess a good dose of stress resilience, there is a fluid flexibility between two of the systems in our autonomic nervous system. Every time a stressful situation presents itself, the sympathetic nervous system will be activated and cause a fight, flight, freeze, faint or fawn response. This is our body’s natural way of protecting itself from stressors. Once a stressful situation has been resolved and/or processed, stress resilience will help reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system that will lower our heart rate and our blood pressure. If the parasympathetic nervous system doesn’t kick in, however, our stress response will stay switched on and can, in the long run, negatively affect our mental and physical wellbeing.
Our breath is the one function of our nervous system that we can consciously control. That’s why yogic breathing can have such a profound effect on our overall health. Most of us have already experienced that a conscious breath can impact both our body and mind. Now research has shown that yogic breathing can positively affect our mood, and can even reduce anxiety and depression.
One yogic breathing practice that will help release feelings of frustration, anxiety or anger is brahmari pranayama or bee breathing. The exhalation in this practice resembles the humming of a bee. The sound naturally lengthens the exhalation and its vibration has a calming effect on our nerves. Bee breathing or brahmari pranayama is a very simple yet very effective breathing practice in any stressful situation. How about you give it a go and see what this humble bumble bee practice can do for you?
Sit or stand upright, relax shoulders and lift breast bone.
Take a few conscious breaths and close your eyes (or not if this doesn’t work in your situation).
Softly close the lips and breathe in through the nostrils.
Exhale through the nostrils while you make the sound of the letter M. It will sound just like a bee humming inside your head. Keep this sound going for as long as feels good and until you need to breathe in. Don’t force the length of your exhalation while humming.
Repeat this cycle of smooth inhalation and buzzing exhalation as often as suits you.
Finally, be quiet and sit or stand like this for a while. Drop your chin to your chest. Softly open your eyes and lift your head.
Once you have expanded your awareness back into the space where you are sitting or standing, notice whether there is a shift in your breath and/or your mood. Then remember that a mindful awareness practice, such as this yogic humming bee breath, can calm your nerves and release feelings of frustration, anxiety and even anger. Revisit this fun humming practice any time you are worried about how you may react to your feelings. And if you happen to have a small child with you, nobody will even look at you strangely while you are make a humming bee sound!
HERE for you for them bring yoga and mindfulness to families. We are currently working together with Family Support Hammersmith & Fulham to introduce London families to mindful awareness practices in a series of weekly workshops.
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