“Looking for some peace? Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths…
That inner connection and peace are always available to you, at any moment.”Nanette Matthews
Diaphragmatic Breathing (Abdominal Breathing)
How To: Stand, sit, or lie on your back in a comfortable position. Relax the whole body. Allow the breath to become natural. In and out of the nose, not controlled or forced in any way. When you inhale, fill up the belly with air – allowing it to expand. When you exhale, release the air out of the belly – relaxing the belly as it pushes the air out. Do not force the breath in any way. There should be no tension in the abdominal or chest muscles. If any tension is felt, allow it to melt away. Continue these deep belly breaths for a few minutes, or until relaxation is felt.
*Beginner’s Tip: Bring the right hand to the abdomen, just above the navel and bring the left hand to the center of the chest. With abdominal breathing, you will feel your right hand moving up with the inhale and moving down with the exhale. The left hand should not move with the breath.
- Simplest way to relax mental tension.
- Improves blood oxygenation and allows more efficient gas exchange to take place.
- Decreases blood pressure.
- Motion of the diaphragm massages the abdominal organs and tones the abdominal walls.
- improving digestion and metabolism.
- Reduces stress (cortisol) levels – activates ‘rest and digest’ response.
- Relieves tension in the neck and shoulders and contributes to good posture.
- Helps increase attention span.
Natural Breath Awareness
How To: Stand, sit, or lie down in a comfortable position. Relax the whole body. Close the eyes or soften the gaze. Think about your breath. Think about the feeling of your breath. Is your breath coming in and going out? Does it feel smooth? Does it feel natural? Does it feel forced? Or does it feel heavy? Any way it is feeling is okay. Just let your breath be exactly the way it wants to be right now. The breath coming in, the breath going out. Your breath coming in, your breath going out. Breathe in, breathe out. Observe the natural breath, without changing it. This is all that exists in this moment – the natural breath. Inhale, exhale. Continue for a few minutes, observing the natural breath.
Tip of the Nose Breath Awareness
How To: Stand, sit, or lie down in a comfortable position. Relax the whole body. Close your eyes. Think about your nose. Think about the very tip of your nose. Think about your 2 nostrils on the tip of your nose. Now use your imagination. Imagine that there are 2 thin, silver lines of air going into your nostrils when you breathe in. Imagine that those 2 thin, silver lines of air are coming out of your nostrils when you breathe out. Continue this visualization for a few minutes, observing the streams of air you are breathing.
- The tip of the nose is directly connected to grounding.
- It creates balance and harmony in the body.
- Brings calm and stillness to the mind.
- An effective tool to manage anxiety, stress, depression, and pain, as well as digestion and blood pressure.
- Increases positive thoughts, promotes positive relationships with others, and fosters self-awareness of emotions.
Counting the Breath
4 Count Breath
How To: Stand, sit, or lie down in a comfortable position. Relax the whole body. Close the eyes or soften the gaze. Inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 4. Inhale counting 1-2-3-4, Exhale counting 1-2-3-4. Do 10 rounds.
Count Each Breath (Variation A)
How To: Stand, sit, or lie down in a comfortable position. Relax the whole body. Close the eyes or soften the gaze. Count each inhale and exhale with the same number, going up to 10. Do 10 rounds.
Inhale 1 – Exhale 1
Inhale 2 – Exhale 2
Inhale 3 – Exhale 3
Inhale 4 – Exhale 4
Inhale 5 – Exhale 5
Inhale 6 – Exhale 6
Inhale 7 – Exhale 7
Inhale 8 – Exhale 8
Inhale 9 – Exhale 9
Inhale 10 – Exhale 10
Count Each Breath (Variation B)
How To: Stand, sit, or lie down in a comfortable position. Relax the whole body. Close the eyes or soften the gaze. Count each inhale and exhale separately, going up to 10 and coming back down to 1. 10 rounds.
Inhale 1 – Exhale 2
Inhale 3 – Exhale 4
Inhale 5 – Exhale 6
Inhale 7 – Exhale 8
Inhale 9 – Exhale 10
Inhale 10 – Exhale 9
Inhale 8 – Exhale 7
Inhale 6 – Exhale 5
Inhale 4 – Exhale 3
Inhale 2 – Exhale 1
Practice Note: If you lose count then remember that is totally okay! Just gently bring yourself back to your breath and start over – without any judgment. Just be grateful you can always start again, you can always come back to your breath and to yourself.
Feeling the Breath
Hand to Belly, Hand to Chest
Feel the rise and fall of the breath in the body.
How To: Stand, sit, or lie down in a comfortable, relaxed position. Bring the right hand to the abdomen, just above the navel and bring the left hand to the center of the chest. Practice abdominal breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, with natural breath. Feel your right hand moving up with the inhale and moving down with the exhale. The left hand may move slightly with the breath or you may feel the beating of your heart. Allow yourself to feel your breath, connecting with inner peace and inner calm. Continue for a few minutes, or until a feeling of calm is present.
- All of the benefits of abdominal breathing, with a deeper connection to the breath by feeling the rise and fall of the breath.
Hand Under Nose
Feel the inhale and exhale coming out of both the nostrils, actually feeling the air on the finger.
How To: Sit or stand in a comfortable position. Focus the awareness on the natural breath in the nostrils. Softly place the index finger of the right hand on the upper lip, beneath the nostrils. Feel the breath on the index finger flowing out of the nostrils. Observe the breath and the feeling of the breath on the finger. Continue this practice for a few minutes, bringing you in connection with your life force.
- Develops subtle awareness of the breath.
- Connects you immediately with your breath by feeling the air you breathe.