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With Each Breath

Posted Jan 25 2010 7:58am

I am sure that you  know breathing is necessary in order to sustain life, but do you know how to breathe in order to sustain a healthier life?

Many of us take shallow breaths that begin and end in our chest.  When stressed, the breathing becomes even more shallow and at times we even “forget to breathe” and find ourselves holding our breath.  This speeds the heart rate and causes us to cheat our body of much needed oxygen, which in turn negatively effects our entire body.  Just as breathing is necessary to live, breathing properly is necessary to live well.  Breathing deep, cleansing breaths from the “gut” takes practice, but it will help you to remain calm in stressful situations, release painful emotions and memories and can improve your general health and sense of well being.

First begin by sitting properly.  It is difficult to breath deeply when slumped over. Straighten your spine and lift your head so that your chin is facing forward.  Imagine as if you were being pulled up by a string.  Lift your chest so that it is not collapsing into your stomach.

Place your hand on your stomach and slowly release the air from your lungs.  Feel your belly flatten.  You are preparing your body for the rich, full breath you are about to take..  Next take a slow, deep breath through your nose.  Feel your belly fill with air and push your hand.  Completely fill your lungs.  Do not gasp for air.  Do not strain.  When you are filled, slowly push the air from your lungs.  Allow yourself to focus your concentration on your breaths.  Repeat the exercise.

Practice breathing deeply twice per day, until it becomes second nature for you.  As the exercise becomes easier, you may begin to add an affirmation that you repeat to yourself with each inhalation (each time you breathe in).  You may also add the “pushing out” or release of painful thoughts or memories or stressors during each exhalation (each time you breathe out).  Pay particular attention to your breath during times of frustration and stress.  Remember not to hold your breath.  This will merely rob your brain and body of what it needs to effectively handle the situation you are facing.  With continued practice you will find yourself feeling calmer and in increased control. 

Remember this is just an introduction to deep breathing. If you would like to learn more or practice with a professional, contact us at .

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