You may feel deep breathing is only used by practitioners of Yoga and Meditation. It is true, the life force of Eastern cultures has long been the maintaining of 'chi' which is sometimes called Universal energy or Feng Shui energy.
Breathing correctly is considered esential for balancing these energies and is now being embraced by Western cultures as it's understanding grows. People rarely take the time to sit with good posture and listen to their own breathing.
The Benefits of this process creates a link between the mind and body inducing a state of relaxation and tranquility.
Speaking of tranquility, it's spanish translation is - 'Tranquilo', and this word is used when asking someone to calm down.
I'm sure you've heard the expression, 'Take a deep breath and count to ten'. This is usually said to someone who is very anxious or angry or about to become so.
If a person breathes too fast as a result of stress or anxiety, they may begin to hyperventilate. If not checked this will cause headaches, dizzyness and fainting spells.
The same is true if we hold our breath due to a response to fear.
In Ireland there is a saying for this - 'ta mo chroi i do bheal'....this translates as - 'my heart is in my mouth'.
So, via the process of breathing your way into relaxation you will clear your mind and boost your immunity by removing stress and tension.
The four types of breathing : Chest, Stomach, Mouth and Nose.
It is easy to observe breathing through the nose and mouth.
I have often witnessed certain people whilst sleeping with their mouth wide open taking air in this way.
As for the nose, anyone who has tried to sleep while someone is snoring will have seen that process firsthand.
That leaves the chest and the stomach.
Which way do I breathe?
To find out which way you breathe try this simple exercise :
Place the palm of one hand to your chest and place the other on your stomach.
Whilst looking down inhale.
If your chest rises first this is where you breathe from.
If your stomach rises first then that is where you breathe from.
Learning how to perform effective deep breathing can have positive physical and psychological benefits.
It helps to focus the mind and restore clarity of thought.
It acts as a stress reducer.When stressed we breathe shallow and fast.
To achieve relaxation we do the opposite by deeply breathing.
It can help reduce blood pressure.
Many asthma sufferers use it to help them.
It can be done almost anywhere and at any time.
Since we need to breathe to live anyway why not take control over how you do some of that breathing?.
Here are two simple exercises where you can immediately feel the benefits :
Instant Relaxation Technique
Breathe in deeply through your nose expanding your chest. Hold momentarily. Feel the oxygen course through you. Exhale & repeat. The key to success is to practice doing this slowly.
A Slightly Longer Version
While sitting in a comfortable position close your eyes and take a breath as you normally would.
Now fully exhale. Next inhale through your nose only. Exhale slowly counting to five. You might find your mind wandering;don't worry. Refocus and inhale again. Imagine your body stating to relax and it will begin to do so. Exhale slowly counting to five. Repeating this process inhaling and exhaling three more times. That's it!
When you become accustomed to this you will find you are not having to focus as hard.
Plus You will feel calmer, clear minded, sharper and more alert.
Here is a great warm up exercise that focuses on breathing. To learn more about this or Yoga Therapy please visit: www.naturalmedicineschool.com
Stress release and Relaxation Breathing Exercise:
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes to shut off any visual stimulus.
Breathe in slowly and with your mind say to yourself....I am releasing....
Breathe out slowly and with your mind say to yourself....stress.
Breathe in slowly and with your mind say to yourself....I am becoming....
Breathe out slowly and with your mind say to yourself....calm.
Breathe in slowly and with your mind say to yourself....I am....
Breathe out slowly and with your mind say to yourself....relaxed.
You should notice an immediate difference in how you feel. Repeat as often as you can throughout the day.
5 Minute Bed Deep Breathing Exercise
This exercise is another deep breathing technique which also helps to cleanse the lungs.
For this exercise lie on your mattress on your back using pillows underneath the neck and knees.
This will reduce any possible tension whilst performing the exercise.However if the mattress is lumpy or old it may be best to do this on a carpeted surface.
Place the palm of your hands at the bottom of your rib cage on your stomach.
You will feel the rise and fall of your breathing naturally.
Postion your palms so your middle fingers are barely touching as you inhale deeply.
When you exhale you will notice the fingers moving away from each other slightly with the movement of your stomach as it rises.
Repeat this procedure for approximately five minutes.
This action utilizes the lungs to their full capcity instead of the breathing we experience whilst in a standing position.
Make deep breathing a habit - Whether you're watching T.V, at your computer, waiting in a queue or sitting in traffic.
There are many other exercises and you can get more advice from your local health or wellness centre.
As With all exercise please consult your physician if unsure as the suggestions here are in no way meant to take the place of medical advice.