Monday, September 26, 2005

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a great way of promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, and trained voice are some disciplines that recognize the importance and effectiveness of deep breathing.

It is natural to breathe using the diaphragm or lower abdomen. If you watch babies, you will see that they breathe this way. As we get older, stress and inactivity cause us to draw shorter, shallower breaths. These short breaths use only the upper chest instead of the lower abdomen. In times of stress the abdominal muscles tense up and make it almost impossible to breathe deeply and naturally. At first, the shock your body feels because of the increased oxygen intake during deep breathing exercises, may cause you to feel some dizziness.

A short breathing exercise:

Close your eyes, and hold your hands over your lower abdomen. Breath in deeply through your nose while you slowly count to 4. Feel your belly push out on your hands. Let the air in your abdomen expand your belly without any muscle tension. Breathe out through your mouth, feeling your hands moving back into your body.

Repeat this pattern until you feel peaceful, calm, and relaxed.

You may find it helpful to play calming and relaxing music, or use the following relaxation sleep-aids

drumming relaxation sleep-aid

vibraphone relaxation sleep-aid

Click here for SoundSleeping's Relaxing MP3 Downloads!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Flash Altman,

I've practiced breathing exercises and yoga for quite some time. I'm wondiering if you meant "breathe out through your nose" when you wrote, "breathe out through your mouth". I've been taught to breathe both in and out through the nose.

9:08 PM  
Blogger flashaltman said...

Hi clark,

There are many variations of deep breathing exercises. Even in Yoga, there are some exercises that involve inhaling and exhaling through the nose, and others through the mouth. The exercise I described can be done either way. Experiment and find out which works best for you.

2:00 PM  

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