Wednesday, August 02, 2006

stress management : Breathing to Reduce Stress

Do you realise how important your breathing is? I mean, apart from the fact that it keeps you alive? Do you know that your manner of breathing directly affects your stress levels? Would you like to learn how to use your breath to calm, focus or invigorate you?

Your breath moves the air in and out of our body. If you do not inhale completely, the necessary oxygen does not reach the necessary organs. If you do not exhale properly, the stale air stays in the body and affects your breathing, your concentration and your health.

I want you to do a simple test:

Place your left hand palm down over your belly button. Now place your right hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in…and out… Focus on your hands.

What moved? Did your left hand move when you inhaled? Did it move in our out?

If your stomach moves inwards when you inhale, you are not breathing as your body intended.

If your stomach inflates when you inhale, you are breathing correctly.

Your right hand is not supposed to move. Your chest should only move minimally if at all.

It is easily remembered if you visualise a balloon in your tummy. When you inhale, inflate the balloon When you exhale, deflate the balloon.

As babies we breathe like this and then somewhere along the line someone tells us to pull our stomachs in when we inhale.

Now we need to unlearn a pattern that has formed over many years.

Practise breathing properly whenever you are stressed or want to relax (before bed is good).

Inhale and make your belly as round as you can. I call this my Buddha belly ;) Then exhale using your stomach muscles to push the air out End by having your stomach drawn in and abs tight

Practise this breathing for 3 minutes a day and within weeks your subconscious will start to adopt the new habit.

I guarantee your stress will be easier to manage and your mind more clear to focus on what you need to.

by Lana Rolfe

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