There is a saying by Chuang Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, that while ordinary people tend to breathe simply from their throats, people who are extraordinary will know how to breathe all the way from their heels. The saying offers food for thought. Even if you do not know how to breathe from your heels, breathing is an excellent and simple way to learn how to focus and relax. It serves as a great entry point for beginners to meditation, and even when practitioners of meditation become experts, they often continue to use breathing as their main forms of meditation all the way through their lives. When you perform meditative breathing exercises, you can not only build an excellent focus and a deep relaxation, the knowledge of how to breathe deeply can also provide numerous health benefits to various parts of your body.
When you breathe deeply through deep breathing exercises, you can reduce your risks of both heart disease and high blood pressure. Additionally, it makes taking a breath easier because the lower parts of your lungs are far more efficient at moving oxygen through the body than the higher parts because they have a greater volume. Deep breathing also helps you relax, and relaxing helps you breathe deeply, which provides you with a helpful feedback loop. The following breathing exercises can be traced back to Buddhist Breath, a classic breathing meditation that is also known as Baby’s Breath. Before beginning these meditative practices, you should find a place in your environment that is comfortable and that allows you to stand or sit upright without being interrupted.
The first technique is deep breathing. As the name of the technique implies, the goal is to breathe a little more deeply than you already do throughout your day. The first step is to become mindful of your present breathing patterns. Truly pay attention to your breathing. Most adults will breathe primarily from their chests. You can go a little bit beyond there. Try to let your breath sink slightly more deeply into your body. Rest your hand on your navel and wait to see if your relaxation will increase. Try to let every breath push your hand a little bit forward. Become comfortable with this. As your comfort level increases, you can move your hand slightly lower. Start with your hand in between your pubic bone and your navel. Try to keep completely relaxed. Push your hand out a little using your belly each time you breathe in. Let yourself relax. Take your time. There is no rush.
The second technique is deeper breathing. This breathing is more challenging to reach than the first technique of deep breathing, but it is worth it. Follow the first technique until you become comfortable with it. Once you have reached a level of breathing that is deep inside your belly, it is time to progress even deeper. Try to remain relaxed. Push your perineum downward when you inhale. The perineum is the part of your body between your anus and your genitals. Stay relaxed. Stay calm. You aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere just yet.
The third technique is slow breathing. Once you have established a way to breathe deeply, the next step is to try to slow your breathing down consciously. We will define a breath as a complete cycle of inhaling and exhaling. For this step, it can be very helpful to have some kind of digital clock or stopwatch handy, as you can use it to see how many seconds pass when you breathe slowly. Typically, an adult might take between 17 and 20 breaths every single minute. If you make it a goal, you can slow your breathing down significantly. A good starting goal to aim for is between 10 and 12 breaths per minute. Once this becomes easy, try go get down to between 4 and 6 breaths per minute, or even slower. Remember to focus on relaxing. Have fun!