When we are meditating, focusing on our breathing can help us calm our minds and focus on how our body is feeling while we meditate. There are many reasons you may want to focus on breathing. You may want to focus on meditating, maybe calm yourself when you are feeling stressed, or just want to help yourself go to sleep. Breathing and focusing on our breath can help us in many ways.
Let’s try a few techniques out. You will get instructions to practice the following:
- A basic belly breathing technique
- Calming breathing technique
- 4-7-8 breathing technique
We recommend reading the instructions, then taking some time to practice the breathing technique on your own.
Let’s try it out!
Our first breathing technique is a basic belly breathing. Read the instructions below and then try it on your own.
Basic Belly Breathing Instructions
Sit or lie down. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach somewhere above your belly button.
Breathe in through your nose, noticing your stomach rise. Your chest should remain relatively still.
Purse your lips and exhale through your mouth. Try engaging your stomach muscles to push air out at the end of the breath.
Breathing into your belly like this will reduce anxiety and stress in daily situations, as the body normally tends to hyperventilate when it is stressed, and people naturally start to breathe quicker, calming your breath down is key to surpass stress. Next time when you get stressed or angry or sad, try to breathe into your belly slowly at least 3 times before you do the next thing.
Calming Breathing Technique
Now for a calming breathing technique.
Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.
Hold your breath to the count of “three.”
Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
Repeat. Hold your breath to the count of three and exhale. Repeat these steps 3 more times.
Holding your breath for three seconds before breathing the air out will help to calm down your heart rate and will help you to think clearly under stress.
Last but not least, we will learn a breathing technique that helps you to fall asleep quickly. So, tonight when you go to bed you should try this breathing technique to see if it really works. To fall asleep, you should breathe as follows:
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four seconds.
Hold your breath for a count of seven seconds.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight seconds.
This technique is called the 4-7-8 technique because you breathe in for 4 seconds, you hold for 7 seconds, and you exhale for 8 seconds. Try to relax while you try it at home and you should fall asleep much quicker than usual.
Which technique helped you focus on your body more? Did you feel more calm and at peace with your body?
Again, meditation and focusing on our breathing takes time to do well. Don’t give up! Try to practice meditation 2 minutes per day to start with. Meaning try to sit or lay still for two minutes or longer per day and to only focus on breathing.
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