Straw Breathing for Anxiety
- Sit comfortably with your back straight to allow your lungs to expand fully and without restriction.
- Have a straw (with a small diameter) close and ready for the practice.
- Inhale fully through your nose and then exhale fully and slowly through the straw. Make sure you exhale fully, be gentle; do not force the breath out.
- Inhale through your nose again, then exhale through the straw. Continue with this practice for about 5 minutes.
- Try to breath down into your abdomen. Feel the rising movement of your abdomen as you inhale, and the abdomen lower as you exhale.
- Try to pause slightly after the exhalation to allow the inhalation to start naturally, do not force it or strain. Just wait for the feeling of the inhalation to come spontaneously.
- You may start to become aware of the natural pause between the breath, allow your mind to become still in this pause. Feel the sensation of calm and profound stillness in these pauses.
- After you have finished, make some observations. How much has your breathing slowed down? Do you still feel anxiety? Are you feeling calmer? What is your experience following this practice?
- For a video guide, click HERE
How Straw Breathing Helps Anxiety
Straw breathing can help you regain a feeling of calm and can be a very useful tool for anxiety. When you’re stressed, angry or panicked, you tend to take short, shallow breaths. This can increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight“ stress response.
The development of deep, slow breathing through regular practice has the effect of stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for the resting, calm state and balances the effects of the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers anxiety and adrenaline.
Short term stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, is normally harmless and can be extremely useful. However, chronic or long term exposure to the chemicals produced by the sympathetic nervous system can be associated with various conditions. This includes hypertension, headaches and migraines, immune system suppression, impaired digestion, weakened hormone function, anxiety and panic.
Regular practice with your straw can help your body to regain its natural balance, and reduce your reaction to the stress you encounter in you life. It can also dramatically reduce the feelings of anxiety. It’s a great idea to have a straw in your car, office, handbag, next your bed for when you cant sleep……. Stash them everywhere!