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    Breathing exercises for relaxation

    Breathing exercises for relaxation

    The way you breathe affects your whole body. Full, deep breathing is a good way to reduce tension, feel relaxed, and reduce stress.

    Roll breathing
    The object of roll breathing is to develop full use of your lungs and get in touch with the rhythm of your breathing. It can be practised in any position, but it is best to learn it lying on your back, with your knees bent.

    1. Place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.
    2. Practise filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your left hand goes up when you inhale and your right hand remains still. Always inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
    3. When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: Inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your abdomen falls.
    4. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand falls. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
    5. Practise breathing in and out in this manner for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your abdomen and chest is like rolling waves rising and falling in a rhythmic motion.

    Practise roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere, providing you with an instant relaxation tool any time you need one.

    Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to hyperventilate or become light-headed, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.

    Morning breathing
    Try morning breathing when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.

    1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
    2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.
    3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
    4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position.

    Clearing your head
    Clearing your head is good for relieving neck tension or for when you have too much on your mind.

    1. Begin with several very slow neck rolls. With your chin on your chest, or close to it, roll your head up and to the right, slowly inhaling until your head is leaning back and your chin is pointing toward the sky. If you have arthritis of the neck (cervical spine) or other diseases of the spine, do not point your chin to the sky.
    2. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this position.
    3. As you roll your head down, slowly exhale until your chin is back on your chest.
    4. Repeat, this time rolling your head to the left.

  2. #2
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    Re: Breathing exercises for relaxation

    10 Benefits of Deep Breathing and How To Breathe Correctly
    Robins Key to a Fit Body and Glowing Health
    Jan 19, 2013 Blog

    Deep Breathing should be a part of our everyday life.

    It not only can lengthen the years that we get to live, but can make us happier, more productive and energetic living them too. Breathing deeply is a well-known stress reliever and has a multitude of health benefits as well. However, in our high stress busy lives, we often breathe very shallowly most of the time. But with a little effort, deep breathing can become an easy and unconscious part of our daily life. By making a conscious decision to focus on our breath for a part of each day, we can make it so that we regularly breathe deeper without having to think about it at all.

    Spend some time each day consciously breathing slow and rhythmically, and bringing air down deeper into your lungs. It is a simple trick to automatically get energized and focused. Just concentrate on bringing your breath down deeper into your lungs. Picture your lungs expanding with air as you breathe in. That is exactly what happens; shallow breathing only fills a small portion of our lungs but it is so much healthier and beneficial for all of our body’s processes, systems and organs, to fill the lungs and bring air deep down into them. Doing this drives more oxygen into the body which cleansing the blood, and in turn cleanses and benefits everything else.

    Deep Breathing and How to Breathe Correctly
    Breathing is something that all of us do all the time, and yet most of us don’t do it right. Stop and pay attention to your breathing right now. Do you see anything moving? If not, it is likely because most of us take shallow breaths. To really benefit your health it is ideal to take long deep breaths.

    Breathe deeply into your abdomen, not just your chest. Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmic and done through the nose, not the mouth. Each breath should ideally last three to four seconds breathing in and three to four seconds breathing out. Deep full breaths that fill your lungs use your diaphragm. When you breathe deeply your diaphragm muscle pulls your lungs down, so that they expand and so that you can really circulate oxygen down into the whole lung.

    Breathe in slowly and imagine your lungs filling up with air: your chest slightly widens, your diaphragm pulls your chest cavity down and your belly button pulls away from your spine as you breathe in. When your lungs are full, exhale slowly and pull your belly button back in towards your spine to push out all of the air from the lungs.

    Getting Into The Habit of Deep Breathing on a Regular Basis
    This following exercise will release stress and make you happier. It will also help you to live a longer and healthier life. Make a plan and schedule it in. Practice taking at least 10 deep breaths first thing in the morning and also in the evening to get into the habit or plan 2 periods (or more) in your day and take at least 5 minutes for each period to practice deep breathing. If you are comfortable to extend it, make the times longer or do it more frequently. Sometimes keeping it a quick exercise, i.e. doing 10 in the morning and 10 at night, will make it easier to add into your day. Pick the way that suits your lifestyle best. Make it something that is doable for you. Better to do a little every day consistently than to do a lot for 2 or 3 days and then forget all about it.

    Post sticky notes around your home or office as reminders when you see them to breathe deeply. The benefit of this exercise is that it doesn’t take any extra time, we can breathe while doing anything else; we just need to be reminded to do it.

    Put a note or something to remind you when driving. Try to get into the habit of breathing deeply when you come to a red light. Or make it a habit when you do a certain task, or go into a certain room. Pick something that will work for you.

    If you sit at a computer for long periods sometimes we become so engaged that we forget to breathe. Lack of oxygen affects all of our processes, including and especially the brain and often when we are working on the computer we are multitasking and thinking of several things. Therefore, it is especially important to remember to take periods of conscious deep breathing to work more efficiently and so we don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed.

    Breathing deeply for just a few minutes every day will improve our mental outlook and improve our physical health as well. Breathing is something we all have to do anyway. Learn to do it well and make it a habit so you do it unconsciously and you will be happier, healthier and even live longer.

    Breathing Exercise
    Breathe in and count to five while you draw the air in through your nose deep into your lungs. Hold for 3 seconds and release slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds.

    As you breathe in breathe in pure white light or golden sun light energy and as you breathe out breathe out waste and toxins, sometimes it helps to picture this grey or a dull color, releasing them from your body, which really is what you are actually doing.

    10 Benefits of Deep Breathing
    1. Deep Breathing makes you calmer. Breathing deeply and feeling calm is your natural state. Deep breathing naturally relaxes the mind and body. Breathing deeply is the fastest way to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, aka the relaxation response, which makes you feel relaxed. Stress is at the core of most diseases and most of us live stressful busy lives, which is commonly accompanied with shallow breathing. When we breathe shallowly, the body does not receive as much oxygen as it needs and it makes our muscles constrict. You can almost feel this tightening when you are stressed or tense. The sympathetic nervous system is triggered when we feel stress or anxiety and sends out spikes of cortisol and adrenaline. It is the parasympathetic nervous system which counteracts this and breath is the fastest way for these two systems to communicate. With deeper breathing you can turn the switch from high alarm to low in seconds. Remember if you ever feel anxious to breathe deeply. Pay attention and you can feel the peace coming in and the tension being released as you simply (but deeply) breathe in and out.

    2. Deep Breathing helps to detoxify the body. Our bodies are designed to release 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. Carbon dioxide is a natural toxic waste that comes from the body’s metabolic processes and it needs to be expelled from the body regularly and consistently. It gets transferred from the blood to our lungs and we expel it with our breath. However, when our lungs are compromised by shallow breathing, the other detoxification systems in the body take over and have to work harder to expel this waste. This overload can make the body weaker and lead to illness.

    3. Deep Breathing relieves pain. Studies have proved it yet when we feel pain our instant unconscious reaction is to hold our breath. Remember that breathing deeply and breathing into pain will help to release it. Deep breathing releases endorphins which are the body’s natural feel good pain killers.

    4. Deep Breathing makes you happier. Breathing deeply will increase the neurochemical production in the brain and release more of the ones that elevate moods and control pain.

    5. Deep Breathing helps to improve your posture. Bad posture is often directly linked with incorrect breathing. Try it yourself and as you practise breathing deeply watch how you naturally straighten up. Filling your lungs encourages you to straighten your spine and stand or sit taller.

    6. Deep Breathing stimulates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a crucial system in our body that most of us are fairly unaware of. We know much more about our circulatory systems but we have twice the amount of lymphatic fluid in our body as we do blood. Our circulatory system relies on our heart to pump it, while the lymphatic system relies on our breathing to get it moving. The blood pumps oxygen and nutrients to the cells and once they absorb what they need they excrete their waste back out into the sea of lymphatic fluid that our cells constantly swim in. The lymph fluid is responsible for ridding the body of the debris the cells excrete and also dead cells and other waste. As our breathing is what moves the lymph, breathing shallowly can lead to a sluggish lymphatic system which is not detoxifying properly. Deep breathing will help get that lymph flowing properly so your body can work more efficiently.

    7. Deep Breathing increases our cardiovascular capacity. It gives many of the same benefits of exercise and can enhance the benefits you get from exercise. Aerobic exercise (cardio) uses fat as energy, while anaerobic exercise (strength training) uses glucose as energy. By expanding our cardiovascular capacity from deep breathing we can do more cardio easier, which also increases our cardiovascular capacity and burns more fat cells as well.

    8. Deep Breathing gives you energy. Drawing air deeper down into the lungs greatly increases blood flow as this is where the greatest amount of blood flow occurs, according to the American Medical Student Association. This increases energy and also improves stamina. The higher oxygen content of the blood, which cleanses the body and all its cells of debris and toxins, along with better circulation, better sleep, stress reduction, your body working more efficiently, and all that goes along with these naturally gives you lots more energy.

    9. Deep Breathing improves your digestion. More oxygen is supplied to the digestive organs and thereby helping them to work more efficiently. Deeper breathing also results in an increased blood flow, which in the digestive tract encourages intestinal action and will further improve your overall digestion. It addition, deeper breathing results in a calmer nervous system which in turn also enhances optimal digestion.

    10. Deep Breathing strengthens the major organs of the body, such as lungs and the heart. Deep breathing expands the lungs and makes them work more efficiently. It also brings in more oxygen to the blood which gets sent to the heart and makes it so that the heart does not have to work so hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Also, with the lungs working a little harder pushing out oxygen into the blood it eases the pressure needed by the heart to pump it through the body. This improves your circulation and gives the heart a bit of a break.

    Bonus: 11. Deep Breathing helps to regulate weight. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen will help to feed the cells and tissues. If you are overweight it will assist with weight loss. The extra oxygen in the body will help to burn up excess fat more efficiently. When we are stressed, and most of us live day to day in a fairly stressed state, your body tends to burn glycogen instead of fat. Deep breathing triggers the relaxation response which encourages the body to burn fat instead.

    Deep Breathing improves overall health and lowers our chances of sickness or disease. Breathing deeply helps to clean our blood by removing the carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen. Most diseases in the body begin with having unclean blood. Blood that is clean will wash the cells and tissues and remove toxins and waste so that illness and disease will not develop. The increased oxygen supply that comes from deep breathing also improves our nervous system, which interacts with all parts of the body, thereby improving our overall health.

    More benefits?
    Deep breathing helps you to sleep better.
    Deep breathing lowers blood pressure.
    Deep breathing increases circulation

    Deep breathing is one of the easiest ways to improve your health dramatically that you can easily do from anywhere, at any time. It costs nothing and takes very little effort. Take a little time each day to practice it and it will greatly reward your efforts.



    A PDF copy of this article along with an other article "Benefits of Breathing Exercises " are attached for download / viewing / printing

  3. #3
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    Re: Breathing exercises for relaxation

    This video describes and demonstrates diaphragmatic breathing. Knowing what happens can help when employing the technique of deep (diaphragmatic) breathing.


  4. #4
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    Re: Breathing exercises for relaxation

    Get a Hold of Yourself: 3 Kinds of Deep Breathing
    By Therese Borchard
    Published Jun 10, 2013

    Deep breathing has become increasingly important in my recovery from depression and anxiety because I recognize that shallow breath contributes to my panic. In fact, at my worst hours, I would use a paper bag to keep from hyperventilating.

    The practice of deep breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), responsible for activities that occur when our body is at rest. It functions in opposite to the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates activities associated with the flight-or-fight response. I like to the think of the PNS as the calm sister and the sympathetic nervous system as the non-sympathetic crazy sister on the verge of a nervous breakdown. You know that woman in the movie “Airplane” that’s wigging out ( ), and there is a line behind her of people with weapons saying “Get a hold of yourself.” The woman represents the sympathetic nervous system, and the long line of folks with bats, ropes, purses, etc. are members of the parasympathetic nervous system trying to calm the panicked passenger.

    Of all the automatic functions of the body—cardiovascular, digestive, hormonal, glandular, immune–only the breath can be easily controlled voluntarily, explain Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D. in their book, “The Healing Power of the Breath.” They write:

    By voluntarily changing the rate, depth, and pattern of breathing, we can change the messages being sent from the body’s respiratory system to the brain. In this way, breathing techniques provide a portal to the autonomic communication network through which we can, by changing our breathing patterns, send specific messages to the brain using the language of the body, a language the brain understands and to which it responds. Messages from the respiratory system have rapid, powerful effects on major brain centers involved in thought, emotion, and behavior.

    In their eight substantive chapters, the authors discuss several techniques of deep breathing to reduce stress and anxiety. They start off with three basic approaches which provide the building blocks for the others:

    Coherent Breathing
    Coherent breathing is basically breathing at a rate of five breaths per minute, which is the middle of the resonant breathing rate range. I achieve this if I count to five inhaling and count to five exhaling. The five-minute rate maximizes the heart rate variability (HRV), a measurement of how well the parasympathetic nervous system is working. Brown and Bergarg explain that changing our rate and pattern of breath alters the HRV, which causes shifts in our nervous system. The higher the HRV the better because a higher HRV is associated with a healthier cardiovascular system and a stronger stress-response system. Breathing at a rate that is close to one’s ideal resonant rate (around five breaths per minute) can induce up to a tenfold improvement in HRV.

    Resistance Breathing
    Resistance breathing is exactly what its name suggests: breathing that creates resistance to the flow of air. Per the authors:

    Resistance can be created by pursing the lips, placing the tip of the tongue against the inside of the upper teeth, hissing through the clenched teeth, tightening the throat muscles, partly closing the glottis, narrowing the space between the vocal cords, or using an external object such as breathing through a straw.

    All that sounds a bit complicated to me. Breathing should be easy, right? So I simply breathe out of my nose, which, according to Brown and Bergarg, creates more resistance than breathing through the mouth. I do think it’s interesting when they explain that singing and chanting – all musical sounds created by contracting vocal cords—are forms of resistance breathing, and that is why they provide that relaxed sensation you can get meditating (if you CAN meditate).

    Breath Moving
    Breath Moving is when, well, the breath moves. Courtesy of your imagination. Brown compares this exercise to an internal massage. I’m not sure I’d go that far. I like the real deal. However, I do think sending your breath on a little journey around your body – as long as it doesn’t get too lost — does help you keep your concentration on the exercise and not on your to-do list because counting to five can get a little old. For example, here’s part of a circuit the authors offer in their book:

    • As you breathe in, imagine you are moving your breath to the top of your head.
    • As you breathe out, imagine you are moving your breath to the base of your spine, your perineum, your sit bones.
    • Each time you breathe in, move the breath to the top of the head.
    • Each time you breathe out, move the breath to the base of the spine.
    • Breathe in this circuit for ten cycles.



    The history of Breath Moving is fascinating. According to the authors, the technique was created in large part by the Russian Christian Orthodox Hesychast monks around the eleventh century. The monks would teach the technique of moving the breath to the holy Russian warriors to help protect them from harm and to empower them as they defended their territory against invaders.

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