How To Breathe Through Stress By Using What You’ve Learned In Yoga

Ad failed to load

As a yoga instructor, I often have people approach me and say they could never attend a class because they're not flexible enough. This is one of the most popular misconceptions about yoga, because honestly, if you can breathe, you can do yoga. Learning how to breathe through stress is one of the most powerful parts of a yoga practice, and all it really requires is for you to be a human being with lungs who is kind of stressed out (I think pretty much everyone's with me on this one).

There are so many different breathing techniques within yoga that are great to use when you're battling a stressful situation, ranging from ones that are simple enough for a child to perform, to ones that are a bit more complex and may take some practice to perfect. All of these techniques are used to relieve stress, improve mental clarity, and benefit your overall health.

This practice of controlling your breath in yoga is called "pranayama." "Prana" means life force or breath sustaining the body, and "ayama" means to extend or draw out.

Ad failed to load

Essentially, the way you breathe has such a huge impact on how you feel in general, but this is often overlooked by most people. Think about how amazing it feels to breathe a huge sigh of relief when you accomplish a difficult task. Using the full capacity of your breath to quell your anxious emotions is highly calming and restorative to both the mind and body.

According to The Art of Living Foundation, there's a specific rhythm in the breath for every single emotion. So, while you cannot directly harness your emotions, breathing techniques can help you better understand and overcome them.

If you've never practiced pranayama breathing techniques, it's best to start off under the supervision of an experienced teacher. But there are a few simple techniques that can be implemented on your own to manage stress anytime, anywhere. Here are a few for you to try out yourself.

Ad failed to load

1. Balanced Breathing (Sama Vritti)

Michelle Brown on YouTube

Sama vritti is one of the most basic breathing techniques in yoga. Implementing this kind of breathing will calm your autonomic nervous system, which naturally decreases the amount of stress hormones in your body, according to Verywell.

Ad failed to load

Simply monitor how long you're inhaling and exhaling, and try to match the lengths of your breaths. Breathe this way mindfully for a few minutes, really savoring each inhale and exhale.

2. Abdominal Breathing (Adham Pranayama)

zoyayoga on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Abdominal breathing aids in strengthening the muscles of your diaphragm and makes your overall breathing easier and more efficient over time, as it'll teach you how to breathe correctly even when you're not engaging in pranayama.

Adham pranayama also brings a sense of calm to the mind because you're focusing on your breath and nothing else.

You can practice abdominal breathing lying down or sitting in a comfortable position upright -- whatever feels best for you.

Ad failed to load

3. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shoddana)

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Nadi shoddana is basically every yoga teacher's best friend. This pranayama reduces anxiety, calms the mind, and makes your entire body feel utterly relaxed.

Ad failed to load

According to Business Insider, Hillary Clinton used the alternate nostril breathing technique herself to help her chill the f*ck out during the election.

I mean, if this technique calmed Hillary down when she had to deal with debating the Donald on national television, I don't think there's any stressful situation nadi shoddana can't help you tackle.

4. Humming Bee Breath (Brahmari)

Happiness Series on YouTube
Ad failed to load

This breathing technique got its name because you literally sound like a bumble bee while doing it.

Brahmari is incredible for getting rid of frustration and anxiety, letting go of agitation, and releasing anger.

Plus, you'll be happy to know the humming bee breath is super simple and can be done pretty much anywhere -- even at the office, where endless to-do lists and a packed schedule causes tensions to run high.

Ad failed to load

If you're worried you'll look dumb AF in front of your coworkers, know that they'll probably want to join in after they realize all the benefits this kind of breathing brings.

5. Cooling Breath (Sitali/Sitkari Pranayama)

Ekhart Yoga on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Sitali and sitkari breathing have a cooling and calming effect on the nervous system. Personally, I literally do feel like my body temperature drops after I do it. Pretty cool, right?

Sitali requires you to be able to curl your tongue, but if you can't do this, you can opt for sitkari, which provides the same anxiety-reducing effects.

Try this breathing technique during that afternoon slump in the office, when you could use more focus, tension relief, and subtle bodily restoration.

Ad failed to load

Breathe in, and breathe out. It's all going to be OK.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Your World Is About To Be Filled With Sunshine

If you've had enough of the sleepy and heavy feeling associated with Taurus season, prepare yourself for a replenishing rush of fresh energy. As of May 20, the sun has officially moved into Gemini, and the weight on your shoulders will finally start …
By Roya Backlund

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

How To Start Reading Tarot When You Have No Clue Where To Begin

I've been practicing tarot almost daily as part of my self-care routine for years. My favorite part of the day is putting on a face mask, pouring myself a blushing mimosa or some coffee, busting out a few crystals, and sitting down to spend a little …
By Minerva Siegel

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano