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`Pranayama', the best way to breathe in a stress-free life

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Special Correspondent

`It makes one use the lungs to the full capacity'

Bangalore: Deep breathing exercises, usually known as "pranayama," not only get more oxygen into your system, but also can be the safest way to release stress.

The "pranayama" method goes a step further than just regulating breathing. It makes you change the rhythm of breathing in and out, use the lungs to the full capacity and making better use of the diaphragm. "It not only calms you down during stressful moments, but also improve the immune system because of the improved oxygen intake,'' says general physician, P. Eshwar.

When you are concentrating on regulating your breathing, the mind has less chances of thinking negatively, or in dwelling on things that have gone wrong. Thoughts of being given extra work with a tight deadline or appointments being cancelled and orders missed, seem less important. "Stress not only releases certain hormones in larger quantities into your system, but also makes you hyperventilate, making you breathe much faster than normal and that can tell on your cardiovascular system. Regulated breathing brings the heartbeat back to a more normal level and may bring down blood pressure too,'' Dr. Eshwar says. For those with hypertension or cardiac problems, breathing exercises can help a lot, he adds.

Very often, we realise we are feeling stressed but cannot easily pinpoint the reason. In many cases, anxiety is usually ignored till it reaches a boiling point and one bursts out in anger. Sometimes it helps to let go and let your feelings show about minor irritations. Don't bottle them up," says psychotherapist Sunanda Murthy.

When minor irritants can be dealt with positively, bigger problems become easier to cope with, she says.

The rattling car door or leaking faucet in the kitchen can be repaired far more easily than coping with a sudden increase in workload.

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