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03 - Personal Energy - Energy and Stress Management - Breathing Part 2

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Personal Energy - Energy and Stress Management - Breathing Part 2

 

Breathing Management, Techniques for Stress and Anxiety Control

When it comes to breathing management we first must realize and hopefully appreciate the first writing and compilation which is here.  Now that we have that understanding we can begin to put into action.

The first important step is to realize proper breathing through the nose compared to mouth breathing which was discussed in the prior section.  If those lessons were applicable to you and you have embraced retraining your breathing habits than the following will likely have more effect for you as these techniques work best when breathing is correctly is in sync as your body is more attuned to these breathing management techniques.  In addition, by following other aspects such as proper sleep, nutrition and clarity or the state of ones mind (meditation) these techniques will have a higher success rate.   

  • If you have not taken those lesson seriously than the following may still benefit you but it is only part of the management method and achieving the desired outcome and/or achieving it with ease or with more difficulty becomes a potential factor.

 

Breath Management

By using breathing techniques and exercises one can either increase energy or relax depending on your needs and situation.  Their are many types of or a variety of names associated with these practices.  In this, we will discuss a range of those techniques that will work to obtain desired results.  Essentially we use different breathing techniques to activate our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems inducing energy or rest depending on the technique.

 

Matt Pocock

 

Parasympathetic, Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress & Anxiety 

These techniques will help one to active the parasympathetic nervous system and work to induce rest and relaxation.  These techniques are great for the end of the day, when one needs to address stress or anxiety or any time one should desire to calm down.  Such benefits are to reduce blood pressure, slow down heart rate, relax muscles, reduce tension and calm the mind.

 

Belly Breathing

Be The Change Yoga
 

Belly Breathing is essentially foundation for most breathing practices such as yoga, tai chi and even martial arts.  The goal is naturally belly breath and this is often a work in progress and over a period of time.  Similar to working on ones posture.  Initially one may have to think of it and realign their posture and over time proper posture becomes normal.  This is similar to that practice.

Belly breathing supports improved energy and relaxation.  This works by giving more oxygen to the muscles and helps the organs work optimally,  helps digestion, helps the muscles in the neck and upperback by day and calms the mind helping for a deeper sleep at night.

 

Kevin Chen

Belly Breathing Technique

  1. Sit on chair or on the floor, have your knees and hips comfortable.
    • You can also lay down.
    • Do not hold your breath in between, remember how a baby breathes.  We want to regain those natural belly breaths.
    • This can be done sitting, lying down or standing.
    • If you get light headed lie down until your body acclimates to these relaxing feelings.
  2. Relax hands gently on your lap.
  3. Relax your shoulders, you can roll your shoulders a few times to soften and relax them.
  4. Bring your hands centered over the belly button with one hand over top of the other.
    • You place a hand on your chest and one on your belly button.
  5. Inhale and exhale normally once.
  6. Inhale again through your nose
    • Imagine all the air going to the bottom of your lungs.
    • Feel your abomen expand.
  7.  Exhale/release gradually.
    • Feel your belly go to the spine.
  8. Repeat this exercise 4 plus times and throughout the day or until you begin to feel calm and truly connected to your body.
    • Overtime you will naturally take on this type of breathing and replace shallow breathing.

 

Square Breathing

Therapy in a Nutshell

 

Square Breathing is similar to Belly Breathing but you hold the breath in four second intervals, increase this number over time up to six or eight second intervals if more advanced.  The standard is 4 seconds.

  • If you have high blood pressure, are pregnant or is just uncomfortable use a lower count such as two.  

This exercise will help to calm and is great for anxiety or any time you need to refocus.  This is also a good breathing exercise in the middle of an exercise routine or in a situation.  This technique will help with energy boost as it enables more oxygen to the brain.

 

Square Breathing Technique

  1. Breathe in for 4 seconds,
    • Breath in through the nose into the belly.
  2. Hold it in for 4 seconds.
    • The hold should not be tense or difficult.
  3. Breathe out for 4 seconds,
    • Exhale evenly through the nose.
  4. Repeat this 4 times and any time needed during the day for four sessions.
    • After every session, try for one second more but if feels uncomfortable than return to the time that was most comfortable for you. 
      • Such as going to 5 second intervals gradually working to 8 seconds which will give you greater benefit but if you force this it will not achieve the desired benefit and thus it is better to work slowly over time moving forward only when it feels natural.
    • This an excellent technique before doing any stressful for difficult task or job and is also great when on break or at lunch at your job to help you keep centered and fresh for the next work period.
    • Any time stress and anxiety occurs, this exercise will assist in re-centering and help restore focus and energy.

 

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The Full Exhalation Technique

This technique can give a feeling of recharging and energy boost as your body intakes more oxygen. 

  • This is a great exercise anytime you are feeling tired or worn down and need a boost. 
  • If you are out of breath or emotionally and physically exhausted. 
    • This will return to normal breathing.
    • Reestablished direct control of your breathing.
  • At work during lunch or on a break.
  • A pause during a work out or a sport I recommend this technique.

Most people will natural inhale longer than exhale and this prevents people from fully emptying ones lungs.  This essentially reduces the volume of lung capacity.  This causes one to breath in more quickly raising stress for the mind and the body.  

  • Rapid breathing is often an indicator and creator of stress.

If you try to empty your lungs you will notice that you can keep on exhaling long after it is comfortable to do so.  We have larger lung capacity than we tend to think that we do as with incorrect breathing we tend to forget this and we train our breathing to be more shallow and rapid giving ourselves a false impression of our lung capacity.  By doing a full exhalation it will lead naturally to a full inhalation in a slower more relaxed way.

  • This exercise will help focus and energize you.
  • Helps with digestion.
  • Helps with inspiration.
  • Helps with passion.

 

UW - Department of Family Medicine and Community Health - The Complete Breath - Surya Pierce, MD and David Rakel, MD

 

Full Exhalation Exercise

  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Take a few normal quiet breaths.
    • Through the nose.
    • Belly breaths.
  3. Take a normal inhalation.
  4. Breath out normally.
    • When you think you are done, exhale some more.
    • exhale and push as much air as you can out of your lungs until you cannot exhale anymore.
  5. Naturally inhale.
  6. Breath out normally.
    • When you think you are done, exhale some more.
    • exhale and push as much air as you can out of your lungs until you cannot exhale anymore.
  7. Inhale naturally again
  8. Breath out normally.
    • When you think you are done, exhale some more.
    • exhale and push as much air as you can out of your lungs until you cannot exhale anymore.
  9. Inhale naturally again
  10. Breath out normally.
    • When you think you are done, exhale some more.
    • exhale and push as much air as you can out of your lungs until you cannot exhale anymore.
  11. Take a few more normal deep breaths.
    • Feel connected to your breath.
    • Let go of any tension.
    • Slowly open your eyes.

 

 

Bellows Breath

Bellows breath will help boost energy and is also a great abdominal exercise.  Some prefer this technique over a cup a coffee and is great in the middle of the day.

  • This technique simulates panting and thus if you have a history of panic attacks or high blood pressure skip this one.

In this exercise you will be inhaling and exhaling through the nose as if panting.  It is fast, noisy and several breaths per second.  If you have nasal congestion such as a cold or seasonal allergies it could become messy as mucus is expelled.  Have tissues available is applicable.

You will use the diaphragm like a fire place bellows as you bring in breaths very quickly.  As you increase your abdominal strength with Bellows Breath you can add another round but when learning only do three sets.  If it feels uncomfortable for you, reduce the number but work to 30 round sets as best you can.

 

Rebekah Harbour

Bellows Breath Technique

  1. We are going to go through 3 rounds of 30 bellow breaths for each round.
    • 30 exhalations,
    • Ending with a deep breath in,
    • Hold the breath,
    • Exhale and begin second and then third round.
  2. Sit comfortably with a straight back and head straight
  3. Place hand on belly (belly breathing), breath in and out a few times naturally.
    • Inhale, balloon the belly out
    • Exhale, squeeze in
  4. Take a deep breath in
  5. Begin 30 pants:  Video at 3:20 mark
    • Exhale completely
    • Deep breath in
    • Hold breath
    • Relax the body
    • Gently exhale through the nostrils
    • Deep breath in
  6. Begin second round of 30 pants
    • Begin 30 pants
    • Exhale completely
    • Deep breath in
    • Hold breath
    • Relax the body
    • Gently exhale through the nostrils
    • Deep breath in
  7. Begin third round of 30 pants
    • Begin 30 pants
    • Exhale completely
    • Deep breath in
    • Hold breath
    • Relax the body
    • Gently exhale through the nostrils
  8. Breath normally.

 

The following video will give a visualization to the following three techniques we will discuss below.

Meghan Livingstone

 

Pursed lip breathing 

Use this technique during the difficult part of any activity, such as bending, lifting or stair climbing.  Pursed lip breathing is one of the simplest ways to control shortness of breath. It provides a quick and easy way to slow your pace of breathing, making each breath more effective.

  • This technique is also taught to those who suffer from asthma and COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Practice this technique 4-5 times a day at first so you can get the correct breathing pattern.  Breathe slowly, easily, and relaxed, in and out, until you are in complete control.

  1. Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose for two counts, keeping your mouth closed.
    • Don't take a deep breath take a normal breath.  It may help to count the inhale time, one, two.
  3. Pucker or "purse" your lips as if you were going to whistle and breathe out to a count to four.
    • Do not force the air out.
    • Always breathe out for longer than you breathe in.

Pursed Lip Breathing Video

American Lung Association
 

 

Equal Breathing

The benefits of equal breathing are:

  • The practice works to calm the mind in a number of ways. It is a little bit tricky so the effort involved distracts you from any negative thoughts you may be having.
  • Secondly the breath is close to the emotions and so paying attention to the breath tends to take a little energy out of strong emotions.
  • Finally in lengthening the breath we are working to slow things down throughout the body.

 

Determining your base breathing capacity

The average person has a short and uneven breath. Such a person may breath in 4 seconds and may breath out 3 seconds.  In fact the breath may be even as short as 3 seconds in and 2 seconds out.  

If we take the average breath of an average person to be something like 2 seconds in and 2 seconds out, then such a person breathes at the rate of 15 breaths per minute.  

"you have to see the capacity of your inhalation and exhalation first, and always go with it," says Swami Rama in Lectures on Saundaryalahiri.

  1. Place your finger in front of your nostrils and feel your breath.
  2. Count the length of both, the inhalation as well as the exhalation.
    • The counting method is recommended because it does not encourage a dependency on any external objects such a watch.
    • Count silently in the mind.
    • Count so that one count is equal to one second. 
  3. Check your breath at different times of the day. You may notice differences in the counts, depending on the time of the day, degree of tiredness and your emotional state. 
    • Accept the most common count as the base to start from. 

 

Equal Breathing with counting

  1. Sit in your chosen meditative posture and do this practice silently.
  2. Let us assume your natural breath count is: 5 seconds in, 4 seconds out.
  3. Place your finger in front of your nostrils and feel your breath.
    • Take the lower count, that is, in this case 4 seconds.
  4. Breath in 4 seconds and breath out 4 seconds. This is one breath. 
  5. Do this 10 times. This is  one round. 
  6. After a round breath normally for a couple of moments.
  7. Take the time between rounds to come back to your normal breathing.
    • This may not seem to make a difference initially, but as you increase the counts, you will find these short breaks of normal breathing useful.
  8. Do another 2 rounds, remembering to take a break of normal breathing between the rounds.

 

Flowoxygen

 

Elongating the Even breath

  1. Gradually increasing the counts will help to establish an even and elongated breath.
  2. If you started out with the base count of 4 seconds out and 4 seconds in, then after 2 weeks increase the counts to 6 seconds out and 6 seconds in.
  3. Do 3 rounds of 10 breaths each. 
  4. After another 2 weeks, increase the counts to 8 seconds out and 8 seconds in.
  5. Once again do 3 rounds of 10 breaths each. 

 

Advanced Breathing Elongation

  1. Keep increase the counts by 2 seconds every 2 weeks, until you reach 30 seconds out and 30 seconds in.
  2. That means 1 breath per minute.
  3. You will have achieved this gradually and gently over 7-8 months.
  4. This gradual increase in counts is important so as not to damage the finer elements of the lungs. 

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From THATFirst

 

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Some of the benefits of alternate nostril breathing include:

  • Balance to both the right and left hemispheres of the brain
  • Reduction of anxiety and stress
  • Lowered heart rate to relieve tension
  • Revitalization of a tired mind and body
  • Regulation of the cooling and warming cycles of the body
  • Preparation for deeper meditation
  • Purification of the body’s channels, so that prana, or life force energy, can travel more easily

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique

  1. Find a comfortable seat or sit on a blanket or pillow.
  2. Rest your left palm on your left knee, moving your right hand towards the nose.
    • Keep the spine straight and head straight.
  3. Using the right thumb, softly close the right nostril, and inhale as slowly as you can through the left nostril, then close it with your ring finger. Pause. Open and exhale slowly through the right nostril.
  4. With the right nostril open, inhale slowly, then close it with the thumb. Pause. Exhale through the left nostril. Once your exhalation is complete, inhale through the left. Pause before moving to the right.
  5. Repeat this pattern five to ten times, and then release the right hand to the right knee. Ease back into normal breathing.

 

Very good illustrative breathing by Yoga with Adriene

Yoga With Adriene
 
Their are many other breathing techniques but these are easy techniques that are simple to learn and to manage within ones day or situations as applicable.
 
First by working to retrain our breathing and then by utilizing breathing techniques and exercises we can utilize oxygen to its fullest potential enabling our bodies and mind to live healthier and more vibrant.  We hope this compilation will have a lasting and positive impact on you.  It has on me.  

 

 

Credits

 

 

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~A Cultural Healing and Life Compilation

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