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Three Breathing Techniques to Im...

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:22pm

Three Breathing Techniques to Improve Your Life

By Kacper Postawski

Few people know how to breathe correctly and this can cause fatigue and unnecessary feelings of stress. It can also cause you to have difficulty falling asleep at night.

The human body was designed to breathe using the diaphragm muscle rather than the chest. When you breathe using the diaphragm, your stomach will expand as the diaphragm extends into the abdomen, allowing the lungs to fully expand. This is known as "deep breathing".

Shallow breathing, or "chest breathing", is the technique most people use most of the time. This prevents the person from getting a true lung-full of air. The more stress you experience, the more shallow your breathing will become. This is where the feeling of tiredness comes from after a long, stressful day. Everyone should practice deep breathing as a means of reducing fatigue during the day.

The technique is simple. Sit back in a comfortable chair anywhere and for five minutes practice deep breathing. This flood of oxygen coming into your body will bring feelings of energy and refreshment

As you go through the day, try to remind yourself to breathe deeply and at day's end, you will feel much less tired. Stress can be relieved using breathing techniques along with visualization.

Simply sit or lie down and get comfortable. Begin breathing deeply, fully utilizing the diaphragm to breathe. Imagine yourself in a peaceful, stress-free place of your choice. For many, the beach or a mountain stream may be a choice location. Whatever place makes you feel relaxed and happy is the place to allow your mind to take you.

As you breathe out, imagine yourself releasing all the pent-up stress in your body. As you breathe in, imagine yourself finding peace and calmness.

This technique can be practiced for a few minutes during the day, or for as much as 15 minutes at a time. If you continue much longer than 15 minutes, you will most likely find yourself drifting off to sleep.

Speaking of sleep, many people find getting to sleep after a busy day very difficult. By using the technique of correct deep breathing, sleep can come much more easily and sleep will then, too, be much deeper.

As you relax in bed, begin breathing with the diaphragm. Starting with your toes, tense them, then relax them. Move to the calf muscles; continue on to the thigh muscles. Then tense and relax the buttocks, abdomen and back, shoulders, neck, face and scalp. While remaining in this newly relaxed state and still breathing properly and deeply, allow your mind to take you to your special peaceful place. If the tightness in all your muscles is not completely gone or you begin to tighten up again, you can perform the tense-relax technique while in your peaceful place in your mind. Stay in that peaceful place and allow relaxation to flood over you like a wave.

If sleep still does not come, you can always use the Buddhist meditation, "Breathing in I calm myself; breathing out, I find peace." Soon you will drift away into sleep.

The more you practice these techniques, the better you will become at achieving fast results. These are learned techniques and, therefore, require practice. Soon you will find within only minutes of using the chosen technique for your situation at the moment, your mind, in conjunction with proper breathing, will allow you energy, lowered stress and faster, better-quality sleep.

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