Exercises- Deep Breathing

  1. Sit comfortably either on the floor or in a chair. If you’re in a chair, rest your feet flat on the floor with your back resting against the chair. If you’re sitting on the floor, sit comfortably with your back straight and your legs either crossed or straight out in front of you.
  2. Relax your shoulders. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, gently being lifted towards the sky while you sit deeply in your chair or on the floor. Keep your chin lowered to avoid any strain on the neck. 
  3. Close your eyes. If you prefer to keep your eyes open, just gaze slightly in front of you. 
  4. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or anxious, you can open your eyes, slow your breathing, or stop the exercise entirely. 
  5. Take a moment to feel your body breathing naturally. Notice how your body feels on the inhale and on the exhale. 
  6. Place both hands on your belly, just below your naval. On your next inhale, breathe deeply into your lower belly so that you feel it expand into your hands, inflating like a balloon. Inhale until you feel the natural pause of your in-breath.  
  7. And as you exhale, feel your abdomen contract under your hands as your naval moves towards your spine, fully releasing the air. Do not push into your abdomen with your hands. Exhale until you feel a natural pause at the end of your out-breath. Keep doing this.

By deliberately slowing the breath down and focusing on the exhale, we are increasing the response of the parasympathetic nervous system, which will slow the heart beat and signal to your brain and body to relax. 

  1. Please continue this deep breathing into the lower abdomen for 10 more breaths.
  2. Keep one hand gently on your lower abdomen and place the other hand on your upper abdomen above the naval. On your next inhale, breathe deeply filling your lower abdomen but continue to inhale and feel your upper abdomen expand as well.  
  3. As you exhale, feel your upper abdomen contract and then your lower abdomen contract as your naval moves towards your spine, and release the exhale fully. 
  4. Try not to force or strain your breath. Inhale and exhale as deeply as possible focusing on expanding the belly and slowly exhaling. Try to make your breath even.  Try to make it smooth and slow. 
  5. If it is helpful, trying counting to 3 in your mind on the inhale. One… Two… Three… and then 3 on the exhale. One… Two… Three… 
  6. If you can comfortably inhale and exhale for longer than three seconds, please do so. If you can’t, try two seconds or one second.
  7. Continue this breathing for 10 rounds on your own count. 
  8. As you continue breathing like this, some thoughts may arise in your mind. Allow them to rise, but try not to engage them. Release those thoughts on your exhale and return your focus and awareness to the breath. 
  9. If any tension is rising in your body, allow yourself to release it on the exhale.
  10. Relax your shoulders
  11. Relax your jaw
  12. Release any tension that there may be in your forehead. 
  13. Notice any sensations in your body.  If these sensations create anxiety, try to release them through your exhale. 
  14. When you have completed 10 breaths, you can keep your hands on your abdomen or place them gently on your legs.  Allow your body to simply breathe in and out naturally.
  15. Take a few moments to notice how your body feels, right now. Notice, if there is any new space that has been created in the body. 
  16. Begin to notice any sounds around you. Gently wiggle your fingers. Gently wiggle your toes.
  17. Inhale and gently stretch your arms overhead. 
  18. On the exhale, bring your arms down and then gently open your eyes if they are closed. 

 

Conclusion

Nicely done. Don’t forget, this exercise can be used daily to minimize stress, or it can also be used in stressful, triggering, or anxious moments to stabilize and self-regulate.

And that’s all for this one.