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Four Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress And Reduce Anxiety Quality Of Life, Self-development
Four Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress And Reduce Anxiety Quality Of Life, Self-development

Video: Four Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress And Reduce Anxiety Quality Of Life, Self-development

Video: Four Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress And Reduce Anxiety Quality Of Life, Self-development
Video: Relieve Stress & Anxiety with Simple Breathing Techniques 2023, June

In the hustle and bustle of our life, there is no time for relaxation. To complete the task, finish urgent work, settle the problem that has arisen - our emotions go off scale, and breathing becomes shallow, quickened, chest, to match the rhythm of life: tense, hurried, stressful. The result is a feeling of shortness of breath, painful tightness in the chest, heaviness and tension in the shoulders.

In modern language, many expressions are associated with breathing: we "catch our breath" when we are excited, we are "on our last gasp" when we are very tired, and "breathe out our last breath" when we die.

The meaning of breathing

Breathing is an integral part of many cults, rituals and religions. It represents the basis of life, animating it and making it vibrate. The Latin word "spiritus" means "breath, air, spirit". Hence, breath is a spirit that is constantly in motion. Some traditional cultures see breath as a direct manifestation of spirit, a transcendental force with which we can consciously connect.

Many rituals use it as a cleansing agent. In Sanskrit, Atman, the creator of the Universe, manifests itself in a person through breathing, which, like prana in Indian religion, is an inhalation, a spirit. As a symbol of the spiritual world, breath is able to open the doors of the mind and heart. In major traditional teachings such as Zen, which came from China in the 12th century, it is at the center of the search for the inner path, as the abdominal breathing helps to learn meditation. From time immemorial, Buddhist monks have used it to achieve a higher mental and spiritual level. Concentration on breathing is carried out through the nadis, the human energy channels. The ability to center and control their mental and physical consciousness is for them the key to complete control over body and mind.

For Hindus, the air we breathe contains prana, the life energy that feeds us. It is concentrated in the hara, located in the center of the human body, two fingers below the navel. Hara is a spiritual concept that guides a person along the path of inner development. Eastern teachings place all their consciousness in it, draw strength and self-control.

The Japanese view the stomach as a center of vital energy. Having learned to control breathing, they stated that other body functions (heart rate, blood circulation, emotional and physical balance) can also be changed consciously. They found that the mind is able to control and direct the flow of energy created by proper breathing. Thus, mental awareness, interacting with breathing, can affect physical health and the immune system in general. Endorphins sent to the cells restore the free movement of energy and release all kinds of muscle tension. The entire body responds to these beneficial vibrations generated by the breath.

From childhood, we are forced to suck in our belly. Whereas Eastern teachings, on the contrary, call for relaxing the lower abdomen. Since it is at the same time the most powerful and most unconscious part of our body, in which our anxieties, suppressed outbursts of anger, fears expressed by abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, colitis and other disorders crystallize. “If you feel good about the hara, it means that you are all right and it will be difficult to shake your peace of mind,” says Carlfried Graf Durkheim. (Durkheim, Carlfried Earl. The Use of Pleasure, 2004.)

A person who is focused on the hara is balanced, calm, feels comfortable in his body and in life in general.

Breathing and emotions

Breathing is a barometer of our inner state. Emotional upheavals increase muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure. Excitement knocks down breathing, makes it intermittent, anxiety causes suffocation, breath catches from surprise, upset causes sobs, depression is expressed in sighs. When we suppress fear or anger, our breathing rhythm changes, we don't breathe deeply enough. The diaphragm, the most important muscle in the respiratory function, is often blocked at such times.

“When I’m anxious, my stomach contracts, it even seems to me that I can’t breathe,” Adele admits.

The breathing of an anxious person is rapid, intermittent, defective. Some people believe they can control their emotions by blocking the muscles in their chest and abdomen. Such tactics can lead to increased feelings of insecurity. Alexander Lowen sees in this tension of the abdomen a lack of fullness of life, which he associates with the inner emptiness. If the abdominal muscles are constantly tense, breathing becomes shallow and constricts the diaphragm. This leads to an imbalance between the lower and upper body. Lack of oxygen becomes a favorable environment for the development of numerous disorders, both physical and psychological.

“I am depressed by the family environment, I just suffocate at home, my mother is constantly watching me,” explains Christelle, who suffers from recurring asthma attacks.

Diseases such as allergic asthma, chronic bronchitis or hyperventilation of the lungs are associated with breathing. An asthma attack is accompanied by a feeling of tightness in the chest and wheezing when breathing. According to F. B. Michel, in most cases it is about “words or suffering seeking a way out; this breathing syndrome can mean a suffocating bond with the mother or the inability to separate oneself from her."

Spasmophilia, a feeling of a lump in the throat accompanied by agitation, is a symptom of hyperventilation caused by fear and anxiety. All these disorders subside after the first sessions of breathing technique training. With proper breathing, the body receives the necessary energy very quickly. Focusing on breathing leads to an altered state of consciousness that reduces anxiety and promotes greater relaxation, both physically and mentally.

Full breathing makes speech more fluent and relaxed. Breathing can help alleviate speech defects or change the timbre of your voice. The voice can also evoke emotion. The deeper the breath, the more pronounced the feeling. To make the word sound more convincing, breathing when pronouncing it should begin in the abdomen. This is how opera singers and female singers work on their breath.

Breathing is about releasing your emotions. The breath of life is the search for inner balance. A serene, relaxed state is accompanied by calm breathing. Our breathing slows down when we are engrossed in some task that requires contemplation. And when we sleep, it calms down naturally.

Proper breathing is the key to wellness

Breathing regulates our vital needs and regenerates the entire body. Deep and complete breathing is a beneficial source of energy for our body. When inhaling, the diaphragm descends, massaging the internal organs: liver, spleen, stomach, intestines. Exhalation promotes additional blood flow to the organs of the digestive system, toning them up. The liver naturally heats up from the constant movement of the diaphragm. The relaxing effect of deep breathing massage the gallbladder, improving digestion. Acting on the metabolism as a whole, deep breathing allows you not to accumulate fat and even burn the existing ones. Indeed, if the lungs receive sufficient oxygen, they destroy 10% of the fat in the blood by burning, and toxins are better eliminated. In this way,breath performs the function of purification, strengthens the immune system and relieves fatigue. Deep breathing is also good for cells, activating the mental process, improving memory and attention. So we activate the work of the right hemisphere, which is responsible for creativity. Longer breathing calms your heart rate and reduces stress. Energy circulation is restored and sexuality is activated.

Human breath has a unique property: it is both conscious and unconscious. Consciously controlling the breath quickly produces a state of relaxation. By paying attention to breathing, we can regulate and improve the quality of the incoming air to relieve tension and live in a state of emotional balance. Breathing is a combination of two movements: tension on inhalation and relaxation on exhalation. On inhalation, the breath opens us to the outside world; as we exhale, it opens us up and allows us to explore our body language.

Deliberately directed air fills the body with vigor and enthusiasm, gives the body stability, and also strengthens our confidence in ourselves and in life. By learning to control your breathing, you can increase control over it and increase its effectiveness in various activities. Walking, singing, playing sports, performing in public are all activities that depend on our ability to use our breath for success.

Respiratory practice in sophrology

Many people have never paid much attention to their breathing. Already at the first sessions of sophrology, they realize that their breathing is incomplete, shallow, since they use only one third of the abilities of their lungs. Breathing control is at the core of sophrology training: by involving the whole body, it can reach and release suppressed emotions.

Full breathing is a tool you need to achieve relaxation and wellness. To find a state of inner harmony, any session of sophrology begins with relaxing the abdominal muscles. However, most breathing techniques begin with the need for awareness of the breath. This is the first step towards controlling your body and mind. Our health, state of mind, creativity depend on the amount of oxygen supplied by our breath. Breathing through your belly helps you stay firmly on the ground. By directing our energy-filled breath to certain parts of the body, we can activate, revitalize or calm them.

Train yourself, for example, to take several deep breaths through the nose during the day (dirt particles from the air can enter the body through the mouth), placing the palm of your left hand on the diaphragm, and the right hand on your stomach: this exercise has a good effect on all organs of your body.

Focusing your breathing and consciousness at the level of your abdomen several times a day will increase self-control and reduce the harm from stress.

Alternating breathing (see the Practice section for a description) is recommended by sophrology to calm the nervous system and improve attention and memory by affecting various functions of the left and right hemispheres. Himalayan yogis claim that such breathing is fundamental. According to them, it corresponds to a natural cycle that uses each nostril for specific purposes: breathing in the right nostril stimulates the drive for action and fighting spirit, while breathing in the left nostril promotes a calm contemplative state.

Breathing is much more than a physiological reflex, it contributes to our prosperity and strengthening of inner strength. Peace of mind is largely dependent on this smooth and harmonious movement of air.


U P R A Z N E N I E No. 1

Relief from stress

• Start by observing your breathing. What is it - upper, that is, intermittent, which means chest? Uneven? Superficial?

• Standing, sitting or lying down, place your hand on your stomach and listen to your breathing. Breathe in and out for a few seconds so that it gradually becomes abdominal: you should feel your stomach rise and fall in the rhythm of your breathing.

• Then exhale through your mouth, letting out as much air as possible and drawing in your stomach.

• Inhale slowly through your nose, filling your belly with air … and exhale slowly through your mouth, pulling your belly in as much as possible.

• Live each exhalation feeling release, relaxation.

• Breathe out more slowly, longer than inhaling.

• After five to six exhalations and inhalations, take a short pause, allow air to circulate freely throughout the body. Do this exercise 2-3 times a day.

U P R A Z N E N I E No. 2


• Lie on your back with your hand on your stomach. Exhale deeply to empty your lungs. Then slowly inhale the air through your nose, first inflating your belly.

• When it is full enough, allow air to rise into the chest and under the shoulders (keeping the belly full).

• Hold the air for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your nose, lowering your shoulders first, then your chest and lastly your stomach.

• Breathe normally for a few seconds, relaxing your body.

• Repeat the exercise 1-2 times and relax your body with each exhalation.

As you do these exercises, you will realize how beneficial they are to your health and can do them in any circumstance. For example, when you feel depressed or stressed, or just when you want to take a break.

U P A Z N E N I E No. 3

Improving self-control

• While sitting, relax all of your muscles, especially your legs, and place your feet flat. It is important to keep your back straight to free up your abdomen and thus increase the amount of air you breathe.

• Place your hands with your palms on your lower abdomen so that your fingers are almost touching each other.

• Begin exhaling slowly through your mouth, opening your lips slightly, counting slowly from 1 to 5 and pulling in your stomach as much as possible.

• Then inhale through the nose and fill the inner abdomen with air, slowly counting to 5.

• Breathe out starting from the abdomen, slowly releasing the air from it and pressing with your fingertips on the lower abdomen.

• Repeat this exercise, each time trying to slightly increase the duration of the exhalation.

U P A Z N E N I E No. 4

Reduced anxiety and improved concentration and memory

• Sit in a comfortable position with your head straight. Relax your muscles throughout your body. Relax your jaw and breathe regularly.

• Use your right thumb to close the right nostril.

• Inhale slowly in the other nostril, focusing on the movement of air.

• Close the left nostril, open the right, exhale slowly.

• Then do the same with the other nostril and repeat the exercise ten times.

• Performing this breathing practice daily will have a beneficial effect on your body. You will feel it very quickly.


Fragment of the book “Reconcile body and soul. Body practices for a life free of disease and stress. " Michelle Freud. - Moscow: Publishing house "Bombora", 2020.

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