Having a problem breathing deeply to calm down?
Here are some quick, easy, fool-proof ways to quickly breathe fully and deeply.
FYI – Jump Start Deep Breathing
Having a problem breathing deeply? Try the following:
1. Stick out your toungue.
2. Chant Om, Ah, or Ee for a minute or two.When you chant, hum, or sing, you create vibration in the upper body that feels like an inner massage. Your breathing will automatically deepen, and your jaw and throat will relax, releasing tension. Five minutes of chanting “oh” can change skin temperature, muscle tension, brain waves, and breath and heart rates and is a great sensory tune-up during down times. A minute or so of the “ah” sound, which you produce when you yawn, will relax your jaw and open up your breathing. High notes (vowels “aye,” and “eee”) localize in the sinus cavities and skull and wake up the body. Three to five minutes of “eee” will keep you alert when you’re sluggish.
|Activities to Deepen Breathing||Activities to Increase Exhalation|
|• Blowing through or into a straw
• Playing wind instrument (flute, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, etc.)
• Blowing a whistle
• Blowing into respiratory breathing “whistle”
• Blowing up balloon
Lie on your side with your dominant arm over your head and your other arm lying on your side. With your dominant hand, hold your index, middle and ring finger together and point them into the center of the top of your head sending energy into this spot. With your non-dominant hand, hold your index, middle and ring finger together and point them into the bottom of your sacrum sending energy into this spot. Hold this position for as long as desired. This will not only create immediate deep and full breathing but also enable your cerebral spinal fluid to a flow rhythmically, deeply relaxing you.
3. Cranial/Sacral Work.
4. Tap Your Energy Field through Qigong breathing.Our bodies are rhythmic energy fields. Like a Ouija board, moving our hands across our body creates a force that seems to carry us away by an energy outside ourselves. Tapping into this energy field is a tremendous power tool for deepening breath.
Try this qigong breathing exercise:
1. Visualize energy coming down from above and flowing through your body.
2. Hold the palms of your hand a few inches from your body, hands cupped.
3. Sweep them slowly from head to toe and back up.
4. As you slowly sweep your hands up, notice how you spontaneously deeply inhale, as if a force were pulling air into your body.
5. As you slowly sweep down, notice how you spontaneously deeply exhale, as if your hand is moving the breath down and out of your body.
You might be amazed at the pull of your energy field -- how breathing coordinates with the slow rhythmic movement of your hands and how it gets stuck in various places on your body where you are imbalanced.
5. Lens Flexor (From Lisette Scholl, 28 Days to Reading Without Glasses (Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1998).The exercise will open your breathing, increase circulation and exercise your eyes.
1. With eyes shut, sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor.
2. Hold your hands cupped in your lap, one resting on top of the other.
3. As you inhale, breathe fully through your nose, and maintain your hands in the round cupped hand position.
4. As you exhale, flatten out your hands so your palms become parallel to each other.
5. Let your stomach round out as you inhale and contract your abdominal muscles as you exhale.
As your hands open and close, can you feel how the movement coordinates with a flexing sensation in your eyes?
6. Sea Anemone (This exercise is adapted from one described by Donna Farhi in The Breathing Book, NY: Holt Paperbacks,1996)This similar exercise enables you to experience a deepening expansion of your breath and contraction of the eyes.
1. Sit comfortably in a chair so you can feel your pelvic bones in contact with the chair.
2. Close your eyes so they don’t entrain to distracting outside movement.
3. Place your hands on your thighs with the palms facing upward and fingers softly extended.
4. Then relax the hands and let the fingers curl so your palms form a slight hollow.
5. Continue to rhythmically fold and unfold the hands for a few minutes in this way.
6. Notice the relationship between the movement of your hands and eyes when you inhale and exhale and how the movement of your eyes deepens from one flex to the next.
7. Now let the movement expand into your chest, opening it up as you gently extend the arms and letting it settle as you turn the arms inwards. Let your whole body open and close like a “sea anemone.”
8. Let the movement grow larger and more expansive and then gradually smaller until you are quiet and still.
Can you feel the movement pulse inside you like an echo? Do you feel a change in your breathing? Can you feel how the movement of the hands and arms stimulates the movement of the breath, determining its rhythm and speed? This exercise will help you to kick start fuller breathing. As it can be done subtly, you can do it almost anywhere without drawing attention.
When Nothing WorksIf breathing exercises are ineffective in preventing you from hyperventilating and you continue to feel anxious or have panic attacks, you may have structural restrictions that interfere with the expansion and contraction of your diaphragm and inhibit deep breathing. Neurocranial restructuring (NCR) or biocranial will help realign your and in turn the whole cranial/sacral system. This will greatly alleviate anxiety and panic and enable you to naturally breathe more fully.
For more information on breathing techniques to alleviate anxiety and panic, see Anxiety: Hidden Causes.