How simple breath work can lead you to a deep state of relaxation. From www.Yogajournal.com, By yoga teacher Claudia Cummins The
following yoga breathing techniques are a great way to cultivate
relaxation and well-being (I recommend trying them for the first time
while lying down):
MOVE THE BELLY WITH THE BREATH.
When we are at ease, the diaphragm is the primary engine of the breath.
As we inhale, this domelike muscle descends toward the abdomen,
displacing the abdominal muscles and gently swelling the belly. As we
exhale, the diaphragm releases back toward the heart, enabling the
belly to release toward the spine.
KEEP THE UPPER BODY QUIET. During
high-stress times, it's common to heave the upper chest and grip the
muscles in the shoulders and throat. When we're at rest, the muscles of
the upper chest remain soft and relaxed as we breathe, and the real
work occurs in the lower rib cage. To promote this type of breathing
pattern, consciously relax the jaw, throat, neck, and shoulders, and
envision the breath sweeping into the deepest parts of the lungs as you
breathe in and out.
BREATHE EASY. Although some breaths
may be deeper or faster than others, when we're relaxed, the
alternating rhythm of the inhalations and exhalations feels like a
lullaby—smooth, soft, and uninterrupted by jerks and jags. Consciously
relaxing into this wavelike, oceanic quality of the breath deepens our
sense of peace and ease.
LENGTHEN THE EXHALATIONS. When we
feel stressed, our exhalations tend to grow short and choppy. When
we're relaxed, though, the exhalations extend so completely that they
are often longer than the inhalations. Some teachers even instruct that
if we're deeply relaxed, each exhalation will be twice as long as the
inhalation. To facilitate this, try gently extending each exhalation by
one or two seconds.
PAUSE AFTER EACH EXHALATION. In our
most relaxed state, the end of each exhalation is punctuated by a short
pause. Lingering in this sweet spot can be deeply satisfying and can
evoke feelings of profound quiet and stillness.
LET THE WHOLE BODY BREATHE. When we
are at ease, the whole body participates in the breathing process.
Imagine a sleeping baby: When he breathes in and out, the belly swells
and releases, the hips rock to and fro, the shoulders bob, and the
spine gently undulates. This offers a mini-massage for the muscles and
organs of the whole body, and turns each breath into a soothing melody
that further calms and quiets every cell within.
Try these techniques until you find the one that is the most comfortable with you.