A healthy mind has an easy breath. - Author Unknown
Breathing has been a powerful, integral practice of many systems of self development from the present to the distant past. It's been claimed to aid everything from concentration to out-of-body experiences to relaxation, revitalisation and weight loss.
I certainly feel revitalised and relaxed after practising the breathing technique described below and I find my concentration improves too. I also believe my stamina during exercise has improved. Many people will find that persuasive enough to begin practising. The focus of this post is upon relaxation and well being.
This breathing exercise I'm going to describe is what I call a 'dynamic' one. I was taught it 11 years ago and it's still great for encouraging relaxation, revitalisation and concentration.
Begin this for short durations only. Up to 5 minutes is good. You can build up to 20 minutes or more if you wish. It is your responsibility to care for yourself. If at anytime you feel less than relaxed or happy when practising this style of breathing then please stop immediately. Get up and do something else. When you wish to return to this breathing then do so. I normally breathe in this style for 15 - 20 minutes a day.
Dynamic Breathing in 3 parts
For each part you will count to 4. Each 4 count will be of the same duration. For example:
1. As you're inhaling, count to 4.
2. During the hold count to 4.
3. While you're exhaling count to 4.
Keep all counts to 4, of the same duration.
Use your most comfortable duration for the 4 count.
Keep it relaxed and as comfortable as possible. Leave any stress and strain for weightlifting.
Practise this at a time of day when you will be alone or left at peace.
- Make yourself comfortable in the best way you know.
- Settle onto a straight backed chair or seat. Your torso will be upright, straight and relaxed. Your head will be normally balanced. Both your feet will be flat upon the floor.
- Decide whether you want to either breathe through the nose, or inhale through your nose and exhale via the mouth.
- When you are seated and relaxed begin inhaling. You will be breathing from your stomach. Remain relaxed as you breathe as this will give you a more enjoyable and I believe, a more beneficial experience.
- When you're breathing in your stomach will expand, your neck, shoulders, back and legs are relaxed.
- When you're holding the breath your body is to be relaxed.
- As you're breathing out, your stomach returns to its 'normal size' or contracts whilst your body is relaxed.
As you breathe through this cycle remain focused on the counting. If you lose count, stop, stay nice and relaxed and resume breathing from the inhalation again.
I hope you find this as beneficial and revitalising as I do. Keep on reading and look out for the next in my new series of posts on Meditation.
For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. - attributed to a Sanskrit Proverb
Thanks for reading.