EXAM STRESS? Relax!
Whether you’re taking your GSCEs, A Levels, NVQs, diplomas, degrees or any other final exams there is one thing that we can all guarantee: stress. You might not be actually taking the exams instead you’re on support duty with tea, biscuits and a helping hand but you’re fully aware of the worry occurring at this time of year.
Recently, I was lucky enough to be asked into a local school to help the Year 11 pupils try to relax through the practice of yoga. As a mum of two daughters, one taking her College Finals and the other taking her GCSEs, I know first-hand how stress can manifest itself and how different it is for everyone.
Within yoga we practice Pranayama, which is the art of controlling the breath and is used in part to help calm and focus the mind and to help de-stress the mind as well as the body.
There are three parts to Pranayama:
Breath Retention (Kumbhaka)
The inhalation fills the lungs with air, thereby bringing oxygen into the body. Breath retention increases absorption of oxygen. Exhalation helps to rid the body of toxins and stale air from the lungs.
Although there are various different Pranayama practices I chose ‘Breath to Count’. Here I have suggested various counts but you, just like the Year 11 students, will find the one that suits you through practice. The Inhalation, Retention and Exhalation can vary in count but the more in control of your breathing and the more relaxed you become the longer the count will be.
- Sit comfortably
- Inhale for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4 (repeat x 10)
- Inhale for 4, exhale for 6 (repeat x 10)
- Inhale for 4, exhale for 8 (repeat x 10)
- Inhale for 4, retention for 4 exhale for 4 (repeat x 10)
- Inhale for 4, retention for 6, exhale for 6 (repeat x 10)
- Inhale for 6, retention for 8, exhale for 8 (repeat x 10)
- Inhale for 8, retention for 8, exhale for 8 (repeat x 10)
This simple but affective Pranayama practice can be done anywhere and at anytime so give it a go and you too can benefit from the few minutes of calm and focus for your mind.
Tiffany Eneas – MSE Fitness – www.msefitness.net