Deeper Breathing Stress Reduction - Relaxation Breathing Exercises Through Yoga

The ultimate potent solution to stress is the body’s ability to better tolerate the stress response and to affect rapid natural relaxation. One of the most common practices is relaxation breathing exercises through yoga, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. These often but not always result in a relaxation response. They often but not always help in stress reduction and bring peace and joy. They can help one to gain control over one’s mind in times of anxiety. When done improperly this leads to breathing pattern disorder ro what we call UDB: unbalanced dysfunctional breathing

    It is true that stress is one facet of life that one cannot altogether avoid, but one can neutralize its effects (called distress) by inducing a deep-relaxation response. This is a condition that causes the body to deeply rest and creates a state that is contrary to stress. When we are under stress, a bodily reaction takes place whereby negative chemical reactions are triggered. In some ways, the stress response is supportive in times of emergency, but when it gets activated too frequently, it will wear down the body. With an optimal relaxation response, the body regains its balance. It deepens one’s breathing pattern, diminishes stress and loosens up the muscles. Another benefit is that a person who practices it regularly improves their energy and mental focus. It improves a person’s ability to resolve crises, fight illnesses and alleviate pain.

    There are numerous techniques by which the relaxation response can be put into practice, some being more effective than others. One can easily learn them, but the difficult part is choosing the most effective and then putting them into practice in everyday life and reaping their benefits. One can begin slowly and steadily by starting with 5 minutes and gradually increase the time of practice in progression. The more time given to relaxation response, the stronger the relaxation that will be achieved. Some tips for practicing relaxation response:

    • Set a time specifically for practicing relaxation and integrate it habitually. The best time to devote to it is in the morning hours. This is the time when the air is fresh and the surroundings are peaceful. After practicing it one can continue with daily chores and other activities.

    • They are meant for relaxation mentally and physically, hence should not be done when one is sleepy. Do them when the mind is fresh and awake.

    • One can choose from several techniques contained in the Optimal Breathing Kit depending on the time available and interest. The kit combines teachings from India, China, Tibet, Native America, classical voice, one’s  Michel Grant White combined/created and Western technology.

Deeper Breathing and Stress Relief

    Deep breathing that is well balanced is one of the most simplified forms of exercise. It is easy to learn, one can gain faster relief from pain and other health issues, and it can be done anywhere. Deep breathing exercises form the foundation of most relaxation practices including meditations. It can be combined with other natural therapies like nutrition or music for better results.

Practicing Deep Breathing Exercises

    Breathing from the abdomen, low back and sides while bringing in as much fresh air as possible must be learned or relearned. When one breathes deeply, more oxygen reaches the lungs and the entire body. That doesn’t happen with shallow breathing. With more oxygen, one feels less anxious or restless. So whenever you feel yourself stressed out, make it a point to take proper deep breaths and slow down for a few minutes. In addition to deep breathing, here are some other ways to de-stress:

    1) A popular technique is Progressive Muscle Relaxation. It is a systematic process in which all the muscle groups are tensed first and then relaxed, progressing up the body from the feet to the top of the head. With steady practice, the body becomes responsive to any tension and manages to thwart it at the first symptoms. By merging this practice with deep breathing exercises, one can get added relief. However, this technique works for some but not all people and it is often quite temporary. It can also add to a person’s tension via hypervigilance.

    2) Meditation brings in alertness and reduces depression, mental trauma and anxiety, and can counteract pessimistic emotions. Meditation brings one to a “mindful” state. This means that the mind is being taught to aim its focus and to stay in the present, rather than brooding over the past or contemplating negative possibilities about the future.

    3) Visualization is one of the conventional methods of alleviating stress. In this, one is guided by imagining peaceful scenery or being held by a loved one. By visualizing something that you love, you can let go of tension and nervousness. Just close your eyes and try to visualize a quiet garden, a beach, or a favorite spot. Feel that you are there and make the most of your inner sensory organs, i.e., “smell” the flowers or the salt air, “hear” the birds or the waves crashing, “touch” the sand or the grass, “see” the sunlight on the water, or the leaves waving in the breeze, etc.

    4) Yoga is one of the traditional Indian forms for achieving deep relaxation that is gaining momentum all across the globe. It is done in a succession of poses or asanas often combined with stretches and breathing techniques. Care should be taken, as there are chances that one can hurt oneself if these postures are done incorrectly. Hence, it is recommended that yoga be done under the able guidance of a qualified instructor.

    5) Tai chi and Qigong are Chinese systems of slow, hands-on energy teachings, meditations, physical movements, herbs, meditations and body work that are practiced in rhythmic movement forms along with breathing.  The movement forms may be seen performed in groups in a park.  The slow and rhythmic movement accentuates concentration, brings in the energy forces and relaxes the body, mind and soul. Tai chi roots can be traced to Qigong which has three aspects: Medical, Spiritual  and Martial arts. Qigong is usually slower paced and more exacting in the way it utilizes energy then Tai Chi. They often overlap in style and results. The best thing is that, because of their low impact, people of any age can perform them.  They are safer for people suffering from injuries and boost the mechanisms that bring in accelerated recovery. Their subtlety often requires too much time for would be students to get interested in them enough to continue. Too bad, as the forms are quite profound.

 Techniques for deeper breathing and relaxation are simple, but they need regular practice. They are the most simplified exercises for a healthy and happy life   We integrate several of the more powerful Qigong/Tai Chi forms in our Optimal Breathing Kit.

    . See The Optimal Breathing Kit for 44 ways to relax, focus and energize.

Content copyright 2009-2010 by Michael Grant White and All rights reserved.