Five Ways to Achieve a CalmHave you ever said to yourself, “If I could just calm down, I could be really clear.” Whether poised for a job interview, deciding which way to turn at a crossroads in your life, or simply trying to prioritize what is most important in your day, mental balance is key. A balanced mind can convert apprehension into courage, indecision into clarity, and emotional instability into confidence. This all adds up to mental equilibrium.

You can access a calm, clear mental state using one of these five easy yoga techniques:

  1. Balancing your breathing is key to calming down. Sit in a chair with your back straight, your feet flat on the floor, and your hands resting in your lap. Or lie down on your back with your arms resting comfortably at your sides. Close your eyes and, breathing through your nose, begin to observe your breath coming in and going out. As you observe your breath, it will become regular and even. You don’t have to consciously change your breathing. Just watch your own natural rate of breathing for a few minutes, keeping your attention on the breath. Notice any changes in your mind.
  2. Because the mind rides on the breath, deepening your breathing will naturally slow down your thoughts. Once your breathing is calm and steady, try taking a deeper breath in. Then breathe out very long and slow. If this feels uncomfortable, stop the cycle and let your breath return to normal. Then begin again, this time taking in less air. Exhale slowly. Follow this slow and deep practice of breathing for up to fiveThen notice how you feel.
  3. To rest your brain when you feel exhausted, anxious, or depressed, try this simple forward bend. Stand in front of a chair or table. Place your hands on your hips, elbows pointing back to open your chest. Position your feet so they’re parallel and hip distance apart. Inhale while lengthening your spine up through the top of the head. Then exhale and, keeping your spine straight, bend forward from the hips. Bring your forehead to rest on your crossed arms on the chair or table. Allow your abdomen, eyes, jaw, lips, and tongue to soften and relax. Remain in this posture for up to five minutes, focusing on even breathing. When you want to come out of the posture, put your hands on your hips and inhale as you come up. This exercise can also be done while seated in a chair.
  4. Whenever you’re in a situation that has an emotional charge, practice this simple focusing exercise. As you speak or listen to someone else speaking, put your attention on your breathing. By broadening your focus to include your breath, you allow yourself to detach from the intensity of the moment and to connect to a calmer orientation. From this calmer place, you can listenand speak more effectively.
  5. When you have a problem to solve, first, write down the issue. Then practice the following exercise. Sit with a straight spine and close your eyes. For a minute or two, just observe your breathing. Then, begin to notice the very slight pause that occurs at the end of your inhalation and, again, at the end of your exhalation. Without changing the pattern of your breathing, focus your attention on this slight pause between the breaths. Just observe this moment when there is no movement in your breath. When you fix your mind on this space between the breaths, you are tapping into the universal energy that exists everywhere, in all things. This energy is the source of peace, wisdom, and inspiration. By accessing this quiet space inside, you are also accessing your own wisdom and clarity.