Stress-relieving breathing: do it at home
Inhaling is the very first start into life, which ends exhaling; this is a universal law. According to Eastern philosophy, our breath is countable: although we never think of it, the less breaths we take, the longest we may live.
That is why breathing correctly is essential to our wellbeing. Stress-relieving breathing is a way to know, control and prolong our breath, allowing us to purify our body from toxins, improve our blood and lymphatic circulation, free our mind from negative thoughts, strengthen our immune defences and clean our energy channels. Also, this activity creates and intimate link between breath, heart and mind, calming down our heartbeat and spirit.
Before going into the method, keep in mind some important advice: exhaling must always be longer than inhaling and no air should come out of your mouth (use your nose). Best times to practice are early morning (6 to 8 am); noon (11.30 am to 1 pm) or late afternoon/sunset (5.30 to 7.30 pm). Do the breathing activity on an empty stomach and at least 30 minutes before your next meal.
Ready to start? Choose a calm place, better if facing East. You can practice in half lotus position or, especially for the first times, lying down with legs bent. The most important thing is you feel comfortable and your spinal column is straight (neck and sacrum must be well aligned).
1. Belly breathing (abdominal) – 5 minutes. Put your hands on the belly: when inhaling, it will swell, pushing your hands forward. When exhaling, diaphragm will lower down and the gut undergoes a natural pression, gently massaging and softly pressing onto abdominal muscle wall. After inhaling, hold your breath for 3-5 seconds before exhaling slowly. When exhaling, diaphragm rises back and the belly lowers followed by your hands. The chest must be controlled. This technique works on all the belly organs, stimulating peristalsis, relaxing solar plexus and activating venous circulation.
2.Chest breathing (thorax) – 3 minutes. Move your hands and place them on your ribs. Visualise your breath within your thorax and imagine as if you could lift it and open it, without effort. After inhaling, hold your breath for 3-5 seconds and exhale deeply, lowering down your thorax and imagining it closed. This technique is useful to energise yourself.
3.Complete breath – 10 minutes: now it’s time to entirely use our breathing apparatus, without any energy waste. Combine the belly breathing with the chest one.
Keep on practicing and persist until your inhaling and exhaling will expand, focusing yourself on the “here and now” moment and keeping an eye on any possible change occurring in your body and mind.