Wake Up or Calm Down in 5 Deep Breaths

If you’ve never taken a yoga class or had any instruction on deep breathing, this article will introduce you to a simple exercise that can be done anywhere.

Sometimes we feel lethargic and lack enthusiasm for moving throughout the day. The answer? 5 deep breaths.

Sometimes we are frantic and stressed out and don't know where to turn. The answer? 5 deep breaths.

It only takes 5 deep breaths to change your state of mind and level of energy. You will only understand this if you try it a few times. Deep breathing doesn't come naturally and for some people it's difficult at first, but considering it's not brain surgery, almost anyone can master this task.

A deep breath is not a sniff. While we do breathe through the nose, our breathing is much longer and deeper. To learn the nuances of deep breathing, start by lying on your back. Bend your knees taking your feet to the floor.

Place your hands on your low belly with your middle fingers touching. First exhale all your air out. Then at the beginning of your next breath, loosen your low belly and breathe into the place where your middle fingers are touching. Breathe into that space until your fingers separate. As you exhale, your fingers will come back together. Repeat this three to five times.

Next, move your hands up to your rib cage keeping the middle fingers touching. On your next inhale, breathe into your low belly first (where you first had your hands) and then into the ribs until your fingertips separate. Exhale slowly and watch with your mind's eye your fingertips coming back together. Repeat three to five times.

Then, move your hands up to your upper chest (above the breasts) and place them so the middle fingers are touching. On your next inhale, release your low belly first, then broaden your ribcage, then breathe up towards the neck and collarbone until your fingers separate. Exhale slowly and release any tension in your body and mind. By now you are practicing Three Part Breath - a technique used to calm the mind and balance your energy. You will notice that your mind being focused on your breathing, will start to relax.

You might want to count numbers to four or six as you inhale. It's important to inhale and exhale slowly. Your exhales will usually be longer than your inhales, so count to six or eight on the exhale.

When you want more energy, focus more on your inhales and take in more air than usual. When you want to relax and wind down, focus more on your exhales - releasing more air than usual.

While I recommend learning this exercise on your back, you can easily transfer this breathing technique to the driver's seat, your couch, kitchen table or bed. You can do it in the grocery line. No one needs to know you are using this amazing tool for recovery! This is a great technique for reducing your heart rate when experiencing rapid heart rate during menopause or any time you feel stressed out.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Kneller is the publisher of Midlife Living Well, a lifestyle website an online magazine providing solutions for midlife living. She also teaches yoga in the Scottsdale, AZ area.

For more information and solutions to midlife issues, visit http://www.midlifelivingwell.com
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