Saturday, January 30, 2010

Utilizing your Breath to Decrease Tension and Anxiety


You will hear me talk about the use of breath in my DVD’s, in my yoga class and in my horsemanship classes. There is a huge reason for this. I have experienced deep personal results by better utilizing my breath. It has been one of the most powerful ingredients to changing my levels of stress, anxiety, tension in my body, the way I interact and react in tense situations, my ability to stay present, confidence in riding, and the relationship with my horse. So, this will be one of many blogs on breath!

Yoga brought to me the ability to recognize my breath patterns and help me reformulate years of unconsciously holding my breath when I would feel anxious, stressed, fear etc. I did not even know that I was holding my breath until I was able to do two things. 1) Make using my breath a habit on the mat. Really drawing on my breath with each movement 2) Test myself and force the breath in real life, harmless, stress provoking situations such as driving in the car and thinking about the presentation I have to give that day to executives, an important interview or a conflict that stirred emotion in me. I would drive to work allowing myself to think about that presentation I had to deliver and notice what was happening with my breath. What I noticed was yes, I was holding my breath so I would exercise myself by beginning to think about the upcoming presentation, begin to feel the anxiety, notice I was holding my breath and just begin to deeply breath, using my Ujjayi Pranayama breath. This could take me 20 minutes at first.. by the way, I had a 45 minute drive to work J. I made this a practice day after day, for months until I found that I shifted my pattern of holding my breath to deeply breathing and it is interesting how “just breathing” has transformed the way I view and act in various stress provoking situations. The situations that truly caused me major stress a year ago, give me little worry today. When it does, I engage my breath. This absolutely transfers to building confidence under saddle as this becomes a habit for you. Notice over time, how your anxiety levels begin to decrease, you are able to stay more in the moment and you are able to be more of a partner with your horse.

There are different methods of breathing you can utilize, I utilize Ujjayi Pranayama breathing. Deeply Inhaling and Exhaling through your nostrils with a slight constriction in the back of your throat. It will sound like an ocean to you and it is audible breath. Practice better utilizing your breath religiously on the mat and begin to engage the breath in harmless stressful situations and just notice what happens. Make it a practice daily.

If you have one take away from getting to know me, breath is it!

Let me know how you are coming along in your practice and what you are noticing in your everyday life and horsemanship. Join ZennerYoga facebook group and post your progress or write me with questions at This will help me help you and others at the same time!

Be Blessed,

Theresa Zenner

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