Training Yourself to Breathe
Breathing properly is essential to success in this tutorial
Lay on your back on the floor with your legs bent and your calves resting on the seat of a chair. Use an armless chair and turn it sideways, put the lower half of your legs across the seat. Keep your back flat on the floor and lay your arms out so they are flat on the floor, extending straight out from your shoulders.
Begin to breathe using the muscles in your abdomen, not your upper chest. Breathe in for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of two and then count to four as you let the breath out. This is how you should count it in your head:
If you feel like you are not getting enough air and take a sudden fast breath using your upper body that is all right. That is only a stress reaction, keep practicing and you will become comfortable with the slow breathing.
Continue breathing until the time for the exercise is up. Remember, do not get up quickly. Roll to one side and raise yourself to a standing position slowly.
If you would like to witness what this exercise does for you and your stress levels, take your pulse (count for 10 seconds and multiply by 6) before doing the exercise and then after.
You will be shocked at how much you can slow your heart rate with this simple exercise. With practice, when you begin to feel stressed, all you will have to do is take three or four breaths to trigger the now automatic relaxation response.
The following is a 14-day journal to track the practice and effects of the relaxation exercise. This must be done over 14 consecutive days. For most people, performing the exercise just before going to bed helps to keep them consistent in the practice. The sense of relaxation brought by the exercise will also help you to fall asleep.
Note down the number of minutes spent doing the exercise (starting with 10 and working up to 30). Write down a brief description of how you feel after doing the exercise. The minimum goal is for the last 4-days of the exercise to all be done for a 30 minute time period.
Keep track of how much sleep you are getting and make brief notes on the quality of sleep and any dream activity upon waking.
- Do the exercise at the same time each day.
- Drink plenty of water throughout each day.
- Cut down on caffeine, alcohol and sugar to increase sleep potentials.
Repeat the following records for 14 days of exercise:
Date: Day 1: