Yoga & Fitness

Ask the Teacher: Deep Breathing Makes Me Panic. What Can I Do?

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Ask the Trainer is an recommendation column that connects Yoga Journal members immediately with our crew of professional yoga lecturers. Each different week, we’ll reply a query from our readers. Submit your questions right here, or drop us a line at

I’ve hassle with my respiration observe. After I’m requested to calm my breath or simply to look at it, my thoughts registers precisely the alternative. I undergo from panic assaults and I begin to suffocate. I perceive that respiration is on the coronary heart of yoga observe. How do I rid myself of this psychological resistance?

—Denise L., Toronto

Respiratory is our most intimate ally. It’s at all times with us, whether or not we really feel agitated or relaxed. Yoga and meditation recommend that we deal with the breath as an anchor as a result of it’s at all times occurring now. We can’t breathe for yesterday; we will’t anticipate how we’ll breathe an hour from now. It’s only now that we may be with the breath. As such, breath is a doorway into being intimate with every second as it’s.

Get to the Root of the Difficulty

The problem could also be rooted in your individual historical past—in some self-assessment or self-belief. We are able to’t transcend patterns we aren’t conscious of, and we can’t change into conscious of that which we’re not open to.

So, step one is just to acknowledge this sample because it arises. Whenever you hear the instruction to look at the breath, you might be complicated the methodology of watching with the consequence of watching, which you will assume implies that you’ll be calm. As an alternative, bear witness to it as it’s, with out wishing it have been completely different. Settle for the bare fact of what’s occurring.

Subsequent, place your consideration on the bodily sensations that come up for you as you try to stick with the breath. Let go of the sensation that you’ll want to achieve success at something—even respiration.  As an alternative strive to concentrate on what the expertise is within the second, comparable to tightness within the chest, shallow or brief respiration, unease, or anxiousness. Don’t attempt to flip away from the expertise, alter it, or ignore it.

Be taught to Belief Your self

Consciousness has its personal vitality. As we observe yoga, we be taught to belief our personal expertise. We be taught to just accept no matter occurs, and to grasp that we expertise struggling after we suppose one thing needs to be aside from it’s. Once we begin to imagine the inside voice that tells us that, worry and panic set in. However mindfulness can change our perspective and permit us to launch difficult emotional patterns by going by means of them, as a substitute of preventing with or disallowing them.

In case you’d prefer to deepen your understanding of your expertise, I recommend seeing a therapist with a mindfulness background.

This text has been up to date. It initially appeared on August 28, 2007. 

Sarah Powers is the co-founder of the Perception Yoga Institute in addition to the creator of Perception Yoga and Lit from Inside, which interweaves yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, and transpersonal psychology. Sarah started educating Yoga within the mid 80s and at present her yoga type blends Yin sequencing, with an alignment-based sluggish circulation. Sarah has accomplished all ranges of the Inside Household Techniques Remedy coaching in addition to coaching within the Vipashyana, Tantric, and Dzogchen practices of Buddhism. For extra data go to

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