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Deep breathing is a great way of promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, and trained voice are some disciplines that recognize the importance and effectiveness of deep breathing. Use the following deep breathing technique during any of the above activites or whenever you want to relax and energize your body.
It is natural to breathe using the diaphragm or lower abdomen. If you watch babies, you will see that they breathe this way. As we get older, stress and inactivity cause us to draw shorter, shallower breaths. These short breaths use only the upper chest instead of the lower abdomen. In times of stress the abdominal muscles tense up and make it almost impossible to breathe deeply and naturally. At first, the shock your body feels because of the increased oxygen intake during deep breathing exercises, may cause you to feel some dizziness.
A short breathing exercise:
Close your eyes, and hold your hands over your lower abdomen. Breath in deeply through your nose while you slowly count to 4. Feel your belly push out on your hands. Let the air in your abdomen expand your belly without any muscle tension. Breathe out through your mouth, feeling your hands moving back into your body.
Repeat this pattern until you feel peaceful, calm, and relaxed.
You may find it helpful to play calming and relaxing music during this exercise.