Breathe and Relax
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Breathe and Relax

By Ladan Judge

Abdominal Breathing


Image courtesy of Shawn Rossi

The breath is a bridge which links your physical body to your mind and emotions. Pranayama techniques (breathing practices) cleanse and strengthen your physical body while calming and clearing your mind. There are various breathing techniques. Some techniques are energizing and uplifting while others are calming and relaxing.

Deep abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing helps calm your nervous system and reduce anger, agitation, anxiety, and stress. This practice helps you achieve a sense of well-being, inner calm, and peace.

Try this practice after yoga or exercise or whenever you feel the need. It is best to do this practice on an empty stomach or about one hour after eating.

  • Sit comfortably on the floor in a cross-legged position or in a chair with a straight spine.
  • Place one hand on the abdomen and the other over the heart.
  • Inhaling slowly, feel the belly and side ribs expand.
  • Exhale slowly and gently, drawing the naval towards the spine. Allow the exhale to be complete so that you fully release the breath.
  • Continue breathing steadily and rhythmically for 10-12 breaths, and build the practice to 5-10 minutes.
  • Close the practice, or continue with a meditation practice.
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