Home Health Breathe for better well-being

Breathe for better well-being


I was a graduate student in Manhattan having breakfast on my rooftop on Sept. 11, 2001, when I witnessed planes demolish the Twin Towers. After that, my anxiety grew for many months. Every morning I was shaken by anxiety. I tried everything, refusing to take any medication. Meditation on mindfulness caused panic attacks. My anxiety was not relieved by hot yoga, but it did build muscle. I tried to reach inner peace by attending talks given by Buddhist monks or meditation teachers. Finally, I took a SKY Breath meditation class. It involves a 20-minute breathing routine in different rhythms and positions. I came out feeling relaxed, even though I was skeptical. Two decades later, I haven’t missed a day of my breathing practice, not even when I gave birth.

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I’ve also devoted part of my research career to studying the benefits of breathing for mental health and well-being. Seven years after 9/11, I was working with veterans returning from war with post­traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many traditional treatments had failed, so I and my colleagues ran a controlled randomized study to see if SKY breathing was effective. The nonprofit Art of Living Foundation teaches it to the general population and Project Welcome Home Troops…

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