May 112010

Breathing is one of the most important aspects of any relaxation practice. Without learning to control your breathing properly, you shouldn’t expect to be able to properly induce a state of relaxation on your body and heal yourself by healing your mind. However, before learning some of the more advanced breathing techniques, one should really take the time to familiarize themselves with the very basics of breathing – something which many people believe they already know, when in fact they don’t.

So what’s so special about breathing properly? To learn how to do it, you need to lie down, and relax your entire body with your arms by your side and your legs pointing forward, slightly spread apart. Then, begin slowly breathing in through your nose. This is an important point – you’re given a nose for a reason. It contains many little hairs which are there to catch dust and other particles, preventing them from getting inside your airways. Thus, always breathe in through the nose and not through the mouth when you can.

Now, the crucial part of breathing properly is to actually use your whole lungs, and not just the upper parts as most people do – when you’re breathing, take note of how your body is moving. You should see your abdomen rising with every inhalation, while your chest sinks slightly – likewise, when you’re exhaling, your abdomen should lower itself slightly while your chest will rise. You may notice that only your chest seems to be moving when you’re breathing – this is an indication that you’re doing it wrong. Practice until you feel you’re performing the technique correctly.

To perform a deeper breathing, you’ll need to breathe mainly through your abdomen. To do this, place your hands on your body – one on the chest and one on the abdomen – and use them to feel where your breathing is going. You should not raise the hand that’s on your chest at all, or raise it as little as possible, while your abdomen hand should go up and down rhythmically. You should do this in sessions of 5-10 minutes, and repeat it every day when possible to achieve the best results and get the most benefits out of it.

There’s also a technique called imaginative breathing which has been known to greatly improve any person’s state of well-being if applied properly. To do it, you’ll first need to lie down as we described earlier. This time though, place your hands on your chest, around your solar plexus. Close your eyes and begin breathing deeply, as you imagine the following picture in the same time: your body is filled with energy with every inhalation, and this energy rushes out to fill the body. Likewise, every time you exhale, the energy gets spread out across your body. Keep imagining this as best as you can, and repeat this procedure every day for several minutes for best effect – after a few days, you should notice a definite sign of improvement in your mental condition.

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