For breathing that supports your health and wellbeing on a day to day basis it is suggested that you follow this practice.
span style=”font-size: medium;”>1. Nasal breathing – breathe in and out through your nose. There are many reasons for this: it enhances memory recall and emotional judgement; it triggers the release of chemicals that control blood flow; it warms, moistens and filters the incoming air; it mixes the incoming air with nitric oxide which kills bacteria; it naturally slows down the respiration rate making 6/6 breathing easier to sustain.
span style=”font-size: medium;”>2. ‘Belly’ – or diaphragmatic – breathing, i.e. breathing deeply and smoothly into the bottom of the lungs. So named because the belly rises and falls as the breath flows in and out.
This produces a strong valsalva wave which can as much as double the circulatory effectiveness of the heart and particularly oxygenating the brain. As you breathe in relax the belly and let it expand with the intake of air
3. Coherent breathing, i.e. equalising the time between the beginning of the inhalation and the beginning of the exhalation. This brings about balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity, balancing the systems of the body, bringing the whole system to coherence and returning it to homeostasis and maximum efficiency. Breathing at a rate of five breaths per minute has been shown to be the most efficient rate; i.e. 6 in 6 out hence the name 6: 6 breathing.
An app simply called Breathe available in Android and I’m told in Apple is really helpful for this
4) The key change is that we breathe into the count of 7 and out to the count of 11 but these numbers are advisory only. It can be for example 5:8. The important thing is that the out-breath is half as long again as the in-breath.
This predominantly engages the parasympathetic nervous system and hence relaxes our body. Great for panic attacks and just generally anxiety e.g. when late or supermarket queues or traffic lights.
STOP technique for unwanted thoughts.
1) Whenever an unwanted thought arrives imagine a big red stop sign coming on inside your head and say in a loud internal voice STOP.
2 Replace with a pleasing image or imagine doing something nice like a walk in the country.
3) Repeat as necessary
Figure of 8
Figure of 8 lying sideways is called a lemniscate. Using 2 fingers trace this on your forehead for a count of 20-30 seconds. What is happening is by stimulating the ‘third eye’ point we are activating both the pituitary gland and the pineal gland, which will result in Oxytocin being released. Oxytocin is ‘the’ antidote to ‘Cortisol’ the stress chemical and cancels it out immediately. Probably one of the most powerful techniques to maintain a stress free life.
Stop and think about all that is happening in your life right now. Be aware of your thoughts, are they running fast? Are they jumping from one thing to another? Be aware of your thinking at this moment in time. Do you have confusion about anything?
Now imagine a tornado spinning right in front of you, so fast you can hardly see it.
Spend a moment looking at the tornado and be aware that the calmest place is in the centre. Step into the centre of the tornado and watch it spin but within you feel the peace of being in the calmest place.
Now watch the tornado pick up debris. All that is cluttering your mind will be scooped up and cleared away. As your mind debris is sucked into the tornado notice your thought becoming clearer.
Take a moment to allow your mind to clarify exactly what you need to know.
Now step out of the tornado and watch it spin away taking all that mind debris with it.