3 Powerful Breathing Relaxation Techniques

One of the most powerful ways to relieve tension and bring peace into your being is with breathing relaxation techniques. Working with your breath is effective, convenient, and free. Let's explore how to use the breath to bring a state of deep relaxation, profound peace, and well being into the body.

Breathing is essential to life. We cannot exist without breathing. And yet, most of us do not know how to breathe correctly.

On this page you will learn the following 3 powerful breathing relaxation techniques:

  • The Complete Breath
  • Abdominal or Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Alternate Nostril Breath

Breathing is very unique in that, although automatic and outside of our conscious awareness, it can be controlled by intention. With the use of breathing relaxation techniques, you can gain control over this automatic process. By deepening and slowing down the breath, you will become more relaxed.

The Complete Breath

The complete breath is a technique that allows you to breathe with the whole of your lungs. The lungs stretch from the diaphragm (a dome shaped muscle at the bottom of the rib cage) up to the top of the chest. This technique utilizes the lungs to their full capacity, oxygenates the body, and activates the relaxation response.

The complete breath has 3 stages:

  1. Breathing into the area of diaphragm. The ribs expand slightly out and to the sides. Only the top part of the abdomen rises.
  2. Breathing into the area of mid-chest. The ribs expand to the sides and under the armpits.
  3. Breathing into the area of upper-chest. The breast bone rises up slightly.

To breathe out - reverse the direction. This exercise requires gentle practice in order that the inhalation/exhalation will be smooth and balanced.

Abdominal or Diaphragmatic Breathing

This is the most natural breathing. Watching a baby breathing gives you an idea what is diaphragmatic breathing. It is deep and slow, rhythmic and relaxing.

Diaphragmatic breathing in combination with other relaxation techniques has been found to be effective in significantly reducing anxiety and high blood pressure. With breathing relaxation techniques, the body also removes waste products.

With diaphragmatic breathing you increase your awareness of your breathing patterns - balance your oxygen and carbon dioxide blood levels, normalize heart rate, reduce muscle tension. It is the easiest way to elicit the relaxation response.

Diaphragmatic breathing is the most powerful of all the breathing relaxation techniques. Lean how to practice this breathing relaxation technique.

Alternate Nostril Breath

Alternate nostril breath is a technique used to balance, relax, and energize the whole body system. As you consciously engage both nostrils, you assist your body to become more balanced. Yogis say that this breathing technique has the power to calm your mind and quiet down the nervous system.

  1. Begin by letting go of all the air in your lungs - exhale using both nostrils.
  2. Gently press your thumb against the right nostril - closing it completely, and then inhale slowly through left nostril.
  3. Hold your breath for a few seconds. With your right forefinger close your left nostril as you release your thumb from the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril, wile keeping the left one closed. Hold for a few seconds.
  4. Inhale through the right nostril, hold, release your forefinger as you close your right nostril with your thumb. Exhale through the left nostril, while you keep the right nostril closed. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Inhale through the left nostril... continue this for about 8 cycles.
  6. Conclude and breathe through both nostrils.

Never strain yourself when practicing breathing relaxation techniques (or anything else for that matter!). Your breath is your friend. Remember to be gentle.

Other great relaxation techniques are:

Muscle Relaxation Technique
Visualization Techniques
10 Ways to Relieve Stress
Progressive Relaxation


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