We all need a break from time to time during our busy lives, so do try to find a little time each day for an interlude - a breathing space – just 10 -15 minutes is enough for you to relax, breathe consciously and recharge.
We all normally breathe 12-17 times a minute and the second we begin to think about how we are breathing, our breathing slows down.,,, …….try to prolong the process a little more – if you have the time………. you are now in the realm of conscious breathing…….after 5 minutes of conscious breathing, your vegus nerve (the happy nerve) will have begun to increase the levels of serotonin in your blood and this will lead to a calmer you – its that quick and simple.
What will also strike you is that you have become more aware of yourself, what you are doing, who is with you, what space you are in and how you are feeling – just by being aware of how you are breathing.
There are two ways of prctising the techniue of conscious breathing.
Lying down on your back is the easiest, but not always the most practical, although it is a good way to practise.
And the other is in an upright position.
Here's how to begin….lie down on your back, in a comfortable place, like the carpet in your living room or bedroom, with your knees bent, and your hands splayed out, palms upward, arms at 45 degrees downwards from the shoulder.
Just relax for a few minutes, breath normally and slowly become conscious of the way you are breathing.
Now.. place your hands, fingertip to fingertip on a central point about 2 inches below your navel.
When you next breathe in, push gently against your fingertips at that point, as you do so.
You may find this a little difficult, at first, as your normal breathing in point, is probably in your chest area, or, at best, just below your sternum.
Relax your shoulders and breathe in pushing up against your fingers that are touching that point in your lower belly.
You will feel, as you practise, that the breathing point comes down, until eventually, it resides permanently at that point just about 2 inches below your navel, which the Japanese call the Tanden.
Once you have got the hang of it, you will know it is right, because breathing becomes such a pleasure!
Now you will need to work on the rhythm.
Still lying on your back, (because it the easiest position to practise this breathing method as there is little or no gravitational pull), try this exercise - breathe in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds and breathe out for a controlled 10 seconds. If this is difficult at first, try to breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds and breathe out for 6 seconds. Eventually you will be able to achieve 5, 5 and 10 easily.
This is the basis for establishing a breathing rhythm, because it makes you focus your attention completely, which is exactly what we want you to achieve.
Think about it, you are now consciously breathing in and out very deeply 3 or 4 times a minute, as opposed to possibly 15 times or more, of normal, shallow or unconscious breathing.
This means that you are oxygenating your blood over a wider area of your lungs, at this time, the first energy transaction, which, in turn, means you are giving yourself more energy.
As you get better at it, you may be able to take 1 breath per minute!
Caution: Try not to let your lower abdominal area collapse uncontrollably at all during the entire breathing rhythm.
It is easier to practise this technique and get into a gentle rhythm by lying down on your back, with knees bent at 45º.
Once you have the hang of it, try to do the same thing sitting up on the edge of a chair or a bed, maintain an upright posture, with a hollow lower back. You will find this a little harder now, as it is much easier to do lying down, but if you have managed it before it will come with a little practise.
You can do this anywhere - at your desk, on a train or bus, driving and even walking – and the immediate consequence after a few minutes, is a CALMER you.
Give yourself some TLC today - take a Breathing Space.