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Breathing practices that relax the mind, body and spirit

"Breath/meditation practices are about finding a way to be with your thoughts from a place of ease."

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — According to the CDC, fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming, causing strong emotions in adults and children. Social distancing and working from home can also make people feel isolated and increase stress and anxiety. 

RELATED: Health officials warn mental health issues could rise as COVID-19 cases increase

"What I hear most from people is that they can’t meditate because their mind is too busy. Your mind is meant to think and is not about stopping the thoughts," Dr. Anjali Connors, psychologist and founder of The Awake Life in El Dorado Hills explained.

"Breath/meditation practices are about finding a way to be with your thoughts from a place of ease," Dr. Connors said. "And with a consistent meditation practice, most people find that their mind does become less active." 

Dr. Connors suggests trying Pranayama, regulation of breath, to help shift energy when you start to feel anxious. 

Below are some of the benefits of Pranayama on your mind, body and soul:

  • Brings oxygen to the brain, spine and nerves which improves overall health of the body
  • Calms and balances the nervous system and mind
  • Releases toxins from the body and aids in digestion
  • Increases focus
  • Promotes health of the vagus nerve (transmits information from the brain to organs of the body)
  • Expands lung capacity
  • Increases relaxation
  • Increases vitality and energy
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Increases awareness to the subtle body - energy body
  • Aids in accessing higher states of consciousness

Dr. Connors also recommends practicing a breath or mantra-based meditation to clear the mind.

"My favorite meditations to teach are breath and mantra-based. Both of these practices help the nervous system to relax which thereby helps the mind to relax. When you slow down the breath, the mind and body automatically follow," Dr. Connors said. 

Some of the benefits of breath and mantra-based meditation are as follows:

  • Calms the mind
  • Relaxes the nervous system
  • Increase relaxation
  • Improves and increases focus
  • Releases toxins from the body
  • Improve digestion
  • Improve sleep
  • Increases vitality and energy
  • Reduces anxiety 
  • Relieves depression
  • Brings oxygen to the brain, spine and nerves which improves overall health

Want to try it but need some guidance? Click here for Dr. Connor's video on Pranayama to get started.

Join the conversation with Brittany Begley on Facebook.

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