Breathing Exercises Stress Management, Stress Reduction Specialist, Panic Attacks, Heart Fibrillatio

A popular Unity minister, Max Lafser, talked about a woman in Texas who was cleaning her parakeet’s cage with a canister vacuum cleaner and accidentally sucked the bird into it. She quickly retrieved the bird from the vacuum’s tank. It was alive but very dirty. So the woman washed it with cold water and dried it with a hair drier. When a news reporter asked her how is the bird doing? She told him, it is doing fine, but it doesn’t move or sing anymore. It just sits there the whole day staring at the wall. Obviously, the definition of “fine” for some people is frozen, numb and empty!

    This story is so tragic that it almost becomes laughable. The laughter helps us ease the pain and sadness or this ridiculously handled situation. Laughter and crying help us release the stress because we breathe more deeply and frequently while doing them.

“I now understand that in times of extreme stress and confusion, I can always go back to my breath.”
—Lee Glickstein, public speaking coach

    Stress, when experienced over time, can cause us to develop breathing blocks, that can become permanent if we don’t remove them.

“Understanding” Stress Doesn’t Mean You’re “Handling It!”

    The famous personal-growth mentor, Ram Dass, tells how he had spent 10 years psychoanalyzing his anxiety and even though he now understood his anxiety, he still couldn’t get rid of it! It only reduced when he started practicing breathing exercises.

    Many grade-school children often seem uncontrollable, neurotic, and even evil. But this kind of behavior is mostly a sign of anxiety. I started working with a first-grade teacher to teach 16 frenetic children between the ages of 6 and 7 a key breathing exercise. Most of the students were sick with a cold. We started teaching the exercises by turning them into a game and soon the teacher started handling the exercises all by himself. The exercises worked like meditation, minus all the fluff associated with the practice. The results were terrific!

    I also assisted members of the inmate services staff and the maximum-security inmates themselves at a local county jail. I taught them how to breathe better to help them manage their stress. This course was targeted toward controlling drug and alcohol cravings and aggression. The inmates were extremely receptive toward the program and were willing participants in this particular breathing exercise. Inmate services personnel were quite happy with the results.

    To me, the secret to life is creating energy and then properly managing it. Whether prisons should be for punishment or for education, or both, is a matter for serious discussion. But I am getting a very positive response toward my proposal for training the staff and inmates at jail facilities, emphasizing the ability to train one’s inner energy control. I also wish to train public-school teachers, and I look forward to meeting new contacts that appreciate the power of improving the way we breathe.

    Many commonly taught yoga breathing exercises, such as the yoga complete breath, can calm our senses down temporarily, but they also may reshape the breathing pattern and reduce its foundation and support, and thus potentially cause energetic instability later on. In the long run, they may even hinder one’s ease in breathing.

    One of my favorite definitions of damaging stress (also known as distress) is “not taking enough time to breathe.” Stress and time shortage are everywhere and growing. Did you know that people in Japan actually hire surrogates to be emotionally available for their friends and family? What next? Robots?

    All of us go through emotional, mental, environmental and physical stress on a daily basis. The effects of stress can be both positive and negative. Stress responses like burnout, fatigue, shame, guilt, lack of control and helplessness, epidemic-scale autoimmune disease, food allergies, chemical hypersensitivities, mental weakness, and confusion are spreading like plagues in our society. The way we breathe either reduces or worsens all of these.

“During a breathing session with Mike, I received more release of tension and a stronger sense of inner peace than I ever dreamed possible.”
—Ellen Heathcote, retired former manager of a California state agency

What Is Stress? How Can We Relieve It?

    While teaching stress management, a lecturer held up a glass of water and asked his audience how heavy did they think the glass was. The audience’s guesses were from 30g to 500g. At this, the lecturer promptly replied that the weight of water doesn’t matter, what makes the difference is how we hold the glass. For example, holding the glass for one minute won’t be a problem for anyone, but if someone holds the same glass for one hour, his arm will start aching. And if he was made to hold that glass for a whole day, he might have to go to the hospital! You see, the weight of the water stays the same but the longer we hold it, the more difficult it becomes to endure.

    The same theory applies to stress management. If we keep our stress inside us for a long time, sooner or later, the stress will become too heavy for us to carry around. So, when you leave for home at the end of a workday, leave the stress of work in the office. Don’t take it home with you. After all, you and your family deserve to enjoy your life.

Stress Management Exercises

    Many breathing exercises do not work with or include the reflexive or effortless inhale phase. This is what I call the Rosetta Stone of Breathing. In the long run, neglecting this part may cause constriction in the muscles and loss of optimal, deeper, more natural breathing.
The following breathing exercise can be helpful in almost every stressful situation like panic attacks and heart fibrillation. It is based on eventually developing a strong breathing foundation that will greatly aid in maintaining calm, courage and creativity under even extreme duress.

Reflexive Breathing vs. “Take a Deep Breath”

    “Take a deep breath and let the air fill your belly, then let it out and feel any sense of relaxing.” This simple exercise is one of the most widely practiced breathing exercises to help relax or calm us, and is taught by almost every stress-management specialist. It attempts to restrain many nervous reactions, but actually in the present or over time, may allow aspects of anxiety, phobias, headaches, glaucoma or asthma. This "take a deep breath" exercise doesn’t address severe blocks in the breathing or a weak foundation. What is needed is to give one the inner sense of effortless breathing and its heightened relaxation, along with the calming of the nervous system that is in harmony and stemming from proper breathing sequencing and balance. These are completely interdependent and taught in our Optimal Breathing deep breathing exercises.

The Breathing Reflex—The Rosetta Stone of Breathing

    You can experience a natural, effortless breathing reflex by slowly forcing out the breath as far as you comfortably can do so, then allowing a deep, effortless in-breath to occur. That is the reflex—the effortless inhale that results.

    But it is better to not have to force any out-breath as the forcing often tightens the lower thoracic muscles and, when repeated often enough, will set up a breathing pattern disorder I call UDB—Unbalanced Deep Breathing or Undetected Dysfunctional Breathing.

    If you have any type of health challenge or wellness goal, then you should firstly, or at least simultaneously, develop your breathing, and make sure the reflex is at the foundation of that development. It complements any stress-management program. Many times, breathing exercise are all one needs to effectively manage stress. First learn the fundamentals.  Better breathing for stress management   

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