Technique 8: Breathing technique:
This is a breathing exercise I have adapted slightly from a lecture given by Dr Leon Chaitow, a professor of health at Westminster University, London. He has dedicated many years of study to health in general and has done a lot of research on of breathing. It is amazing that in just a couple of minutes you can feel an instant calming and centring effect. If you are in a panic, or need to focus away from something, or just want to settle in any situation, please try this.
Start by breathing out through a small hole in your lips, as if blowing through a straw. Feel the pressure in your abdomen as you make a slight effort. This is your diaphragm that has to work for you to do this. Keep on blowing out until you know you want to breath back in, then stop for a second.
Close your lips, and then let go and relax. Have a holiday! As you do this, still with your lips shut, feel the air rush in back through your nose and fill your abdomen. Feel your belly really filling up. Then go back to the beginning again and start blowing out through your lips again.
The first few times you do this you may get a bit dizzy. If this happens, just go back to breathing normally for a few breaths and then try again. I recommend taking just ten of these breaths at a time but practising this often. Slowly as you keep revisiting this technique your breath starts to become more and more centred in the belly. This is where we breathe when we are relaxed and calm.
You can always tell a stressed out person because they breathe in their upper chest and you can often see the shoulders going up and down.
The best thing about this technique that the most important stuff happens when your lips are closed and you are not doing anything – ie when the air is rushing in all by itself. Feel how the air wants to rush freely down and fill your lower belly.
This technique is brilliant for letting go of those annoying thought patterns that can take over some times. Changing the focus from thinking to how you are breathing can massively shift your ability to concentrate clearly. This technique helps you practice how to let go with each and every breath. It also changes the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in every cell of your body. Over a period of time the rate of gas exchange becomes less extreme, and levels out. Instead of taking in masses of oxygen and expelling masses of carbon dioxide, you start exchanging less and less urgently so that the who body can settle and relax more. Try this and notice how you are breathing. I use it every time I need to gather my thoughts or want to calm down.