In the thread on healing chronic pain I wrote recently, the 2nd step of the philosophy is:
The pain is due to mild oxygen deprivation.
Here are 4 breathing exercises anyone can use to increase blood oxygen content, and help you experience instant muscle relaxation:
1. Deep breathing: This involves taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. To practice this, inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight.
Repeat this pattern for several minutes, focusing on taking slow and steady breaths. This is an excellent introductory practice for meditation as well, as the simple practice of focusing on breath is one of the fastest ways to complete mental dissociation.
2. Pursed lip breathing: This exercise involves exhaling through pursed lips, as if blowing out a candle. To practice pursed lip breathing, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, making a "whoosh" sound as you exhale.
Since you're using a small amount of "force" to complete the exercise, you're strengthening the mind muscle connection between your unconscious breathing method and real proper breathing. This stuff is a skill, and the more you practice the more natural proper breathing will feel
3. Diaphragmatic breathing: This exercise involves focusing on breathing from the diaphragm, or the muscle located between the chest and the abdomen.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. As you inhale, try to feel your abdomen expand and your chest remain still. As you exhale, try to push all of the air out of your lungs.
This is the state of breathing you ultimately want to become your go-to. Throughout your day, do a check-in with yourself : "Am I breathing through my nose, and is the breath filling my diaphragm?"
This SHOULD be your natural state.
4. Alternate nostril breathing: This exercise involves alternating the nostril you breathe through during each inhale and exhale. To practice alternate nostril breathing, place your right thumb over your right nostril and your right ring finger over your left nostril.
Inhale through your left nostril, then close it off with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Then, inhale through your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat this pattern for several minutes.
The yogi's didn't think alternate nostril breathing was key to enlightenment for nothing. If you find that you're consistently only breathing through one nostril, you know you have an opportunity for massive increase in blood oxygen level- so get practicing!!
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