We live in a high-stressed world. There is always something stressing us out and many of us don’t take a break from it. The stress keeps building and we are like ticking time bombs. We all know the negative impact of stress on our minds and bodies.
There are plenty of reasons we don’t take a break often enough, the most common reason being: “I don’t have time”, but what if I tell you that you can relieve stress by setting aside less than 5 minutes a day?
Today I want to discuss a quick and easy breathing technique for stress relief.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear “chopping wood”, it sounds like work, yet satisfying in a way. Maybe some of you know the feeling of chopping through a piece of wood, it can be quite therapeutic. The only problem is that it can also be hard on your body.
We know breathing is important, yet we often neglect mindful breathing. There are many different breathing techniques, each one posing benefits. for other interesting breathing techniques, check out: Greeting the sun and Beginner yoga at home
For today’s exercise, we are not actually going to chop wood, but we are going to reap some benefits of the act. (having firewood will not be one of the benefits, sorry to disappoint).
– Starting in a low squat position: Your weight should be centered over mid-foot to heel, back straight, thighs relaxed and resting on your calves. Toes pointing straight ahead or slightly outward, feet about shoulder-width apart.
– Clasping your hands: With straight arms, clasp your hands together(you can pretend to hold an axe if this makes it easier for you) and rest it on the floor in front of you.
– Moving your arms: You will keep your arms straight throughout, stretch your arms above your head and bring your hands down in a quick chopping motion.
– Head and neck: When chopping, your gaze can follow your hands, looking down when your hands are down and looking forward or slightly up when your hands are moving up.
– Breathing: Inhale when your hands go up and exhale when your hands come down. Inhale and exhale through your nose, you can make any sound on the exhale to help release any tension.
Now that you know the movement, we can start. Chop 15 times and take a break by walking slowly around a small area or sitting down. Your first round of chopping can be slow, just to get the feeling. You can move through the second round a bit faster and even go for round three if you feel up to it.
Pay attention to how you feel throughout. If you feel dizzy or light-headed at any point, stop and sit down. Once you went through the desired amount of rounds (2 or 3), you can sit down in sukhasana until you have returned to your normal breathing pattern.
There are many benefits to this exercise, stress-relief is but one. It also helps to relieve tension in the arms, neck and shoulders and strengthening of the chest muscles. It can help relax the pelvic girdle and toning of the pelvic muscles. It could also benefit women in the 1st trimester of pregnancy, asthmatic patients and pose psychological benefits in case of depression.
As I said earlier, we often say that we don’t have time to relax and de-stress, but you really should make time! Even if it is just a few minutes a day. When we are tired and overworked, we are not as effective as we could/should be. Taking time off can help you be more effective and achieve more with less time. Work smart, not hard!
I would love to hear from you! Did you like this breathing technique? How did you feel afterwards? Let me know in the comments section and feel free to ask any questions.
Take some time to chop wood today.