Why breathing matters? An introduction to SKY technique

Why breathing matters?
An introduction to SKY Breathing Technique

by Shailja Varghese

The other day I was stepping out of the house for a formal meeting, in my well starched white formals. To my dismay, I saw a black spot on my right sleeve. That tiny black spot on my outer projection of myself would have been enough to disturb my inner equanimity. The mind should have started racing behind multiple eventualities, e.g., should I change my shirt? Or what will happen to my public image? So, as an experiment, I did what many would call brave or sheer crazy. I went through the day, in the white shirt with the spot on my sleeve. If it was a decade ago, I would have been very conscious of the situation and distracted most of the times and maybe irritated at myself that day. However, as an experiment, I carried on with my day as I applied breathing technique, I have learnt in a leadership training workshop many years ago. I observed my mind was centred and calm in spite of being in an uneasy situation. No, I am not saying you go out in soiled clothes to check your stress levels and resilience to it. All I am saying is, experiment and apply the knowledge and tools you have acquired for self-development. Application is the best test of any techniques we learn in life. For me, the breathing techniques I learnt in the early part of my career and its application, has become an intrinsic part of my daily routine. Now, I can never think of a day without doing my breathing techniques.

 

Life throws many black spots of all shapes and sizes at us, symbolically the black spot could be a tough conversation with a colleague or negotiation with a key client or managing team members. As a professional, one can be bombarded with umpteen challenging situations. So, isn’t it important to equip ourselves with some tool to manage ones mind and respond to situations more harmoniously?

Nearly one in five respondents (18%) say they endure stress daily and three out of ten (30%) feel so stressed that they are considering finding a new job. Meanwhile, more than one in ten (14%) respondents believe their company takes no interest at all in their mental wellbeing. (Source: ADP Workforce View in Europe 2018. Sample size 10,000 workers across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK)

Almost everywhere you look you can find stress, not only at work, at home, on the road, in community work and friendships. It’s hard to avoid it. With technological advancement, we are exposed and available 24×7, this has challenged work-life balance. It’s become more and more important now to get the extra boost of energy to manage all dimensions of life. It’s critical to acquire these skills early on in the career, as an executive’s life will only become more and more challenging as the responsibilities and roles become more important and complex. We need a technique, to be dynamic and effective in each aspect so there is no burnout. If we only realize how harmful are the effects of stress on the body-mind dynamics.

During 2016 and 2017 throughout the UK 12.5 million days were lost due to work-related stress and depression which is a national epidemic. The World Health Organization says stress has become a ‘World Wide Epidemic’

Stress is also strongly linked to diseases, like heart issues, suicide, cancer, lung disease, cirrhosis of the liver and the list is endless. To live our full potential, we need to remove the accumulated stress and negative emotions. The breathing technique I learn’t is called SKY, I combine these with my morning meditation. I have made into a habit and doing it regularly without any major breaks. High impact and easy to learn SKY breathing techniques put together by TLEX, helps to relieve deep-seated stress, prevent burn-out and start the day with more energy and joy.

 

How does SKY work?

SKY works uniquely. It utilizes the innate ability of the breath to trigger an automatic quieting of the mind, leading to a deep experience of meditation—whether you’ve never practiced meditation or have done it for years. It is easy to practice and is effective even when the mind is restless or caught up in emotions. During the practice of SKY, you do not try to clear your mind or even watch the breath. The core technique brings the rhythms of the body, mind, and emotions into harmony with the innermost self and helps you live from that state throughout the day. With SKY, many of the wide-ranging physiological, mental, and emotional benefits are seen immediately. And numerous peer-reviewed published studies have verified these benefits.

As per an Italian researcher teaching test subjects SKY breathing technique. After 6 months the test subjects had a 44% drop in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

SKY practice has scientifically demonstrated to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and to improve well-being, optimism, mental focus, and immune function.

 

Scientifically Documented Benefits of SKY:

    • Relieves anxiety & depression (See Ref. 2,5,6,7)
    • Relieves and sustains relief in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms (See Ref. 11,13)
    • Improved emotion regulation (See Ref. 8,15)
    • Increased mental focus / heightened awareness as indicated by EEG Beta-wave activity (See Ref. 1)
    • Increased levels of optimism and reduced reports of stress (See Ref. 3)
    • Reduced levels of biochemical markers of stress (cortisol and lactate) (See Ref. 6,9)
    • Increased levels of antioxidant enzymes (glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase) (See Ref. 9,10)
    • Enhanced immune system function (See Ref. 4,16)
    • Improved cholesterol profile (See Ref. 16)

Time has come when we need to move away from the complaining and victim mind-set and take control of our own life’s by learning tools and techniques for mind and stress management. The results we have seen SKY breathing technique is profound and very effective in a short period of time.

SKY breathing technique is also best suited for the busy professionals who are juggling roles and demands, as this technique has shown immediate results and long-lasting positive impact on the reduction of stress hormones in the body.

 

Learn SKY Technique in our  TLEX Programs, find one close to you by clicking on the link HERE

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About the Author

Shailja Varghese is a content marketing specialist, a founder of a company Poetryechoes Ltd, a well-being trainer for mind and stress management workshops and a consultant with a corporate training company Tlex Institute (Transformational Leadership for excellence). She has been part of the jury at Cannes Entertainment 2016 and advisory board member for Content Marketing Summit APAC 2017. She is a jury member of Womennovator (a virtual incubator for women entrepreneurs) media and information sector 2019.)

 

Research Citations:

  • Alters rapid gene expression, indicating benefits on a molecular level (See Ref. 16)
  • Bhatia, M., Kumar, A., Kumar, N., Pandey, R.M., and Kochupillai, V. (2003). Electrophysiologic evaluation of Sudarshan Kriya: an EEG, BAER, and P300 study. Indian J. Physiol. Pharmacol, 47: 157-163.
  • Janakiramaiah N, Gangadhar BN, Naga Venkatesha Murthy PJ, Harish MG, Subbakrishna DK, Vedamurthachar A (2000) Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine. J Affect Disorders 57: 255-259.
  • Kjellgren, A, Bood, SA, Axelsson, K, Norlander, T, Saatcioglu, F. (2007). Wellness through a comprehensive Yogic breathing program – A controlled pilot trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 7: 43-50.
  • Kochupillai V, Kumar P, Singh D, Aggarwal D, Bhardwaj N, Bhutani M, Das SN (2005) Effect of rhythmic breathing (Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayam) on immune functions and tobacco addiction. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1056: 242-252.
  • Murthy, P.J., Janakiramaiah, N., Gangadhar, B.N., Subbakrishna, D.K. (1998) P300 amplitude and antidepressant response to Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY). Journal of Affective Disorders, 50: 45-48.
  • Vedamurthachar A, Janakiramaiah N, Hegde JM, Shetty TK, Subbakrishna DK, Sureshbabu SV, Gangadhar BN (2006) Antidepressant efficacy and hormonal effects of Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) in alcohol-dependent individuals. Journal of Affective Disorders, 94: 249-253.
  • Katzman, M.A., Vermani, M., Gerbarg, P.L., Brown, R.P., Iorio, C., Davis, M., Cameron, C., Tsirgielis, D. (2012). A multicomponent yoga-based, breath intervention program as an adjunctive treatment in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder with or without comorbidities. International Journal of Yoga, 5(1): 57-65.
  • Gootjes, L., Franken, I.H.A. & Strien, J.W. van (2011). Cognitive Emotion Regulation in Yogic Meditative Practitioners: Sustained Modulation of Electrical Brain Potentials. Journal of Psychophysiology, 25(2): 87-94.
  • Sharma, H., Sen, S., Singh, Bhardwaj, N.K., V. Kochupillai, N., Singh (2003). Sudarshan Kriya practitioners exhibit better antioxidant status and lower blood lactate levels. Biological Psychology, 63: 281-291.
  • Sharma, H., Datta, P., Singh, A., Sen, S., Bhardwaj, N.K., Kochupillai, V. , N. Singh, N. (2008) Gene expression profiling in practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 64: 213–218.
  • Seppala EM, Tudorascu D, Nitschke JB, Hayes A, Goldstein MR, Nguyen D, Perlman D, Davidson RJ (2014). Breathing-based meditation decreases post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in military veterans: A randomized controlled longitudinal study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 27: 397-405.
  • Brown, R. P., Gerbarg, P.L. (2009). Yoga breathing, meditation, and longevity. Annual New York Academy of Sciences, 1172: 54-62.
  • Descilo, T., Vedamurtachar. A., Gerbarg, P. L., Nagaraja, D., Gangadhar, B. N., Damodaran, B., Adelson, B., Braslow, L. H., Marcus, S., Brown, R. P. (2009). Effects of a yoga breath intervention alone and in combination with exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 121: 289-300.
  • Qu S, Olafsrud SM, Meza-Zepeda LA, Saatcioglu F (2013) Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program. PLoS ONE 8(4): e61910, 1-8.
  • Ghahremani, D.G., Oh E.Y., Dean, A.C., Mouzakis, K., Wilson, K.D., London, E.D. (2013) Effects of the Youth Empowerment Seminar on Impulsive Behavior in Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1):139-141.
  • Subramanian, S., et al. (2012) Role of Sudarshan kriya and Pranayam on lipid profile and blood cell parameters during exam stress: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Yoga, 5(1): 21.