Many Eastern cultures have long recognized the importance of breathing to cultivate a positive relationship between the body and the mind. One that promotes a more tranquil state of being and a more resilient physiology.
In order to fully relax we must gain control of our breathing and learn to breathe through our stomachs. Remember that relaxation is truly an elixir for body, mind and spirit.
The secret is simply to breathe…deeply and often. A natural rhythm of breathing includes inhalation, exhalation and resting.
Let’s try some breathing exercises so we can all enjoy the benefits of a more mindful living. Practice breathing exercises when you wake up or when you get in bed at night or any time you feel the need to reconnect with yourself.
By practicing regularly, over time you can learn to notice when your breathing changes in response to stress, exercise, moods and rest. This can help you develop easy, rhythmic breathing.
1. Sit or lie comfortably with closed eyes and observe the breath. Use no effort. Notice the quality of the breath and how it moves in the torso.
2. Place one hand beneath your navel and one under or on your tailbone and notice the movement in these areas.
3. Place your hands on each side of the lower ribs. Observe your breath. Now
cross your arms, placing each hand under the opposite armpit. Feel the
breath come and go. Then release your arms and observe any changes
in your breathing.
4. Now you are ready to try abdominal breathing. Rest your hands lightly
on your stomach. Slowly and deeply inhale through your nose, pushing the
hands outwards. Then slowly exhale, squeezing the belly tight. Practice four inhales and exhales.
“In the future, let’s hope for a TV commercial that says, “Stay in touch with your feelings, keep in touch with a loved one, be treated by a massage therapist, and be well.”
—Bernie S. Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles