Breathing Exercises

Three breathing exercises to help you relax.

We have all heard people say that we should take a deep breath and count to ten when we are angry. We all know that it works. There is something about filling our lungs with air that makes us pause; no matter what emotion we are feeling at the moment.

The practice of using the breath to relax is thousands of years old. It is documented in Hindu and Chinese literature as going back several millennia. The gurus of yoga believe that learning to breathe is as essential to life as eating.

There are several breathing exercises that can be done anywhere at any time that can help you relax or give you that extra bit of energy you need.

Simple breathing for relaxation

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your back straight and your feet on the floor. Allow your hands to rest on your upper thighs.

2. Close your mouth and take a deep breath through your nose.

3. Hold the breath for a count of five, and then exhale through your nose.

4. Repeat several times or until you feel the stress in your body leave.

The Simple Yoga Breath

1. Sit as before or lie down on your back. This can also be done in lotus position or modified lotus.

2. Exhale, pulling in your stomach as you push out the air in your lungs.

3. Inhale deeply, allowing you belly to expand as you breathe in.

4. Continue inhaling until you fill your lungs.

5. Raise your shoulders up towards your ears, still inhaling.

6. Hold the breath for a count of five.

7. Exhale in the reverse pattern, first lowering the shoulders, then the lungs, and then the stomach.

8. Repeat.

Beginners should do this no more than three to five times until they become comfortable with the breathing. As you practice, you can learn to hold the breath longer, for up to a count of ten or twenty before exhaling. This will cause all your muscles to relax. Focus on letting go of any stress in your body with each exhale.

For truly deep relaxation, try guided meditations involving the breath. Several meditations may be found online by doing a search. Most New Age bookstores also have guided meditation CDs and tapes available for sale.

Rhythmic breathing is a wonderful way to boost your energy when you feel drained.

1. Allow your mind to count silently to four, matching the count to your heartbeat.

2. Once you have established the pattern, breath in air in short bursts on each of the four counts.

3. Hold the breath for four counts.

4. Exhale, releasing the air in four short breaths to match your heartbeat.

Doing this allows your mind to still momentarily and forget the world around you. This should not be done while driving or operating heavy machinery. For beginners, you should do this for no more than 3 to 5 rounds.

Another way to rejuvenate your energy levels is by using either method of deep breathing while burning lavender, chamomile incense, or essential oil in a diffuser.

Taking the time to breath properly is one of the easiest ways to relax and build energy. So go ahead, take a deep breath, hold it, and let it go. The best way to let go of something is to not hold on to it.

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