Breathing Exercise

(4.iv) How & Why To Breathe Properly

Learning a proper breathing exercise will help calm your mind and release tension in the body.

In my grade school gym class, over 40 years ago, the teacher instructed the class to suck in the stomach, pull the shoulders back and fill the chest with air as we inhaled.

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That was all wrong!

Many North Americans appear to have been taught this same breathing technique.

I recall reading somewhere that most lung disease occurs in the lower portion of the lungs. The article stated this was due to improper, shallow breathing and not filling the lungs with fresh air.

As I cannot recall where I read this information, I haven’t verified if this is true or not, but it definitely makes sense.

Every cell in the body needs oxygen to survive.

If for no other reason than your health, it becomes obvious a proper breathing exercise is a necessity.

When you find yourself tense, stressed, anxious, fearful or upset, check your breathing and you will discover you are either doing shallow breathing or holding your breath.

As simple and easy as this might sound to you, by merely breathing deeply into your abdomen, these negative emotions dissipate almost immediately. This results in a calm and focused mind.

Also, you will notice when you do deep breathing into your abdomen, the tension in your body eases and your muscles become relaxed.

As you become relaxed, you will feel amazingly alert and energized.

Often I feel like someone just removed the cloudy eyeglasses I was wearing and everything appears brighter to me.

Lastly, a proper breathing exercise is much like meditation. When you focus attention on your breath, the brain wave patterns enter the “alpha” state of consciousness, also known as the learning state.

While in the Alpha brain wave pattern, you are more in harmony with Source Energy (God, Buddha, Infinite Intelligence or any other name you might personally apply).

While in this mental state, it is much easier to actually hear the answers your subconscious has been trying to communicate to your busy consciousness.

Let’s Re-cap the Benefits of a proper breathing exercise:

  1. Improves your health, especially the lungs.
  2. Helps to release negative emotions and calm your mind.
  3. Muscles become more relaxed.
  4. You will feel totally alert and energized
  5. You are in harmony with Source Energy and are able to hear what the subconscious is communicating.

Learning to apply any breathing exercise is the easy part. The hard part is becoming aware of your emotional state (feelings) in the moment they occur.

Every day in which you practice catching your thoughts, beliefs and habits, you become more aware of your old negative programming. (See the “Action Plan” at the end of Step two)

Remember, when you expose anything to your awareness, immediately it begins to lose power over you. Acknowledge and accept everything you feel as a part of you.

Resistance causes persistence!

I am sure there are many effective breathing techniques you can use. Here are three that I like and use regularly.

  1. Square breathing.
  2. Using a ratio(1:4:2)
  3. Deep breath in with a forceful exhale.

1. Square Breathing:

Square breathing produces amazing positve results whenever you are feeling anxious, nervous, excited or fearful and you would like to calm your self.

  • Breathe in to a count of four.
  • Hold to a count of four.
  • Breathe out to a count of four.
  • Again hold to a count of four.
Then repeat the same process over until you reach a calm state.

It’s simple, easy and very effective.

2. Ratio Breathing:

Ratio breathing is my preferred technique when meditating or feeling tired and I want to energize myself.

First, a word of caution: Not everyone reacts the same way to this exercise. Often when I begin this exercise, I get a dizzy feeling. This is due to all the oxygen being pumped into my brain.

At first it was a little perplexing, but once I understood my brain cells were being bombarded with much needed oxygen, I welcomed the feeling.

This may or may not happen to you. Just be aware that any feeling you may experience is actually producing “positive” results.

The ratio I use is 1:4:2

This means I count while breathing in, hold it four times longer than I counted breathing in, and then exhale two times longer than my in count.

For example:

  • (1) Breathe in to a count of three. (3)
  • (4) Hold this air in your abdomen for a count of twelve. (4x3=12)
  • (2) Breathe out through the mouth for a count of six. (2x3=6)
As you practice this breathing exercise and your lungs are able to handle more capacity, increase the timing. I regularly inhale to a count of five, hold it for a count of twenty and exhale for a count of ten.

Play with the count and do what feels comfortable for you.

Breathe in through your nose. Feel the positive energy traveling along your spine, filling your lungs and finally filling your abdomen.

As you are holding your breath in the abdomen, feel the positive energy spreading throughout your entire body, soaking each and every cell with much needed oxygen.

When you exhale, feel the negative being drawn together and leaving your body through the mouth. I sometimes visualize the negative energy leaving me as “minus signs”.

3. Deep, Forceful Breathing:

I use this breathing exercise when I am in a hurry and want quick, short term results.

I simply take a slow, deep breath drawing the air through my nostrils all the way down to my abdomen. Then I exhale forcefully using my abdomen to push the air out quickly through my mouth.

I will do this three to five times to calm myself and get re-focused.

All three of these techniques work great. Use them and play with them. Find which one you like the best and use it regularly.

Remind yourself of all the benefits you receive while practicing any breathing exercise.

Through repeated efforts to catch your negative feelings and using a breathing exercise to calm your self, you are effectively programming your mind to remain calm and focused.

When meditating, a breathing exercise is the most effective method of reaching into deeper levels of brain wave patterns.

You have already read in the previous section the benefits of meditating, so there is no need for me to repeat here.

The information presented in the next section was invaluable to me. I hope it is to you as well.

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