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Monday, April 2, 2012

Breathe Easy

B is for

There is nothing more natural than breathing.  It's the first thing we do when we're born.  It's the last thing we stop doing when we die.  Somewhere between the two we change the way we do it.  Watch a baby and you'll see the belly expand on the inhale.  Ask  an adult to take a deep breath and you'll see the chest expand and shoulders raise instead.  I'm not sure why this happens.  What I am sure of though, is that oxygen is essential to life and health and our habit of shallow breathing robs us of this vital energy source.

I offer you two really simple breathing exercises.  One to help you relax when you're feeling stressed.  The other to energize you when you're dragging.  For both exercises focus on where the breath goes.  Visualize the air going to the bottom of the lungs first to expand the belly,  then filling the top of the lungs last.  Do this in a relaxed way - don't force the breath in any way - just allow it to flow.

RELAX:
Inhale and exhale slowly through the nose.  Count to be sure each inhale and each exhale are the same length.  Start with a count of 4, then as your breathing slows down and your body starts to relax, increase the count to 6, and then 8.  Do this for 3 - 5 mins. whenever you're feeling stressed.   You can also use this technique as a sleep aid - continuing breathing like this until you slumber off.

ENERGIZE:
Inhale slowly through the nose, exhale quickly through the mouth.  Count to be sure each inhale is twice as long as each exhale.   (Try a 6 and 3 count to start and adjust to what feels comfortable.)  Be sure that you fully exhale each time, your lungs should be empty before you start the next inhale.  Do this for 3 - 5 mins. whenever you need an energy boost.

18 comments:

  1. When I first started meditating, I had trouble simply noticing my breathing without trying to change it in some way. Once I got the hang of it, though, the understanding of how breathing relates to mood/energy became clear and the techniques you describe became available for use any old time. :O)

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    1. It's amazing how disconnected we can be from our bodies. Sometimes the toughest part is slowing the brain down enough so we can pay attention to the body.

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  2. My BF often confuses a few deep cleansing breaths with "sighing". I had to explain that sometimes, when I'm feeling a little tired or anxious, I soothe myself with a slow, deep breath or two :-)

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  3. I am profoundly congested right now. I get allergies every spring and don't remember the last time I was hit so strongly.

    Off to read your post about the Two Brains.

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    1. sorry to hear about your allergies - not being able to breath is such a distraction

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  4. Very nice. I love deep breathing, really clears my head.

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    1. I find the same thing - it's like a micro-meditation

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  5. What a lovely, relaxing blog you have. I love that art piece of the breathing.

    I try to breathe/meditate after my workouts.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment! I try to workout - doesn't always happen though.....

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  6. Completely needed especially now when my schedule is filled.

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    1. That's when breathing/meditation works wonders. :)

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  7. This is definitely the only blog in the A to Z challenge where I've practised breathing while reading! Thanks for that lovely little bit of relaxment!!!!

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    1. All the "re"'s and "ou"'s give it away eh? :)

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  9. Breathing is what keeps us alive, but so often we don't even do it to our best advantage. Thanks for the reminders and for visiting my post. Looking forward to seeing more.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

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  10. It's a crazy-simple concept - breather better for better health.

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