Calming Breathing Exercises
& Meditation Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are a great way to calm the body and mind. Below are some different breathing exercises which I’ve tried. You can do these for just a few breaths, a few minutes or meditate using them for 20-30 minutes straight. Every round helps you learn to calm yourself and to concentrate. Find a few exercise you like and practice regularly to to build your skills.
“4 For Calm” Breathing … top
Take 4 long slow breaths.
– Count silently from 1 to 4 with each breath in.
– Count from 1 to 4 with each breath out.
– Breath from the belly. Use the diaphragm (not the upper chest). The belly pushes out as you breath in. The belly pulls in as you push the air out.
Combat Tactical Breathing … top
Combat breathing is used by combat personnel and first responders to help reduce the shakes & stress in very high-risk situations.
– Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4.
– Hold your breath to the count of 4.
– Breathe out through your lips to the count of 4.
– Hold your breath to the count of 4.
– Repeat until you feel your body and mind relax.
A variation is to change the count, like counting to 7 (rather than 4) when breathing ou. E.g., Breath in to the count of four (in 2 3 4) then breathe out to the count of seven (out 2 3 4 5 6 7) and repeat. Don’t hold your breath during this approach.
Another variation is to mentally say “reeeelaaaax” (instead of counting) as you breath out.
Simple Breathing Meditation … top
One of the simplest ways to meditate is to assume the calm attitude of a silent observer, watching the breath’s natural flow without controlling it as it enters and exits the body. Though very simple and easy to do even for beginners this meditation technique is highly regarded by gurus.
Reference – How to Awaken Your True Potential by Yogananda, p.121.
“Find a quiet, peaceful place. Sit comfortably erect. relax your body from head ot foot, focusing on relaxing each body part. Then take a few deep breaths. Inhale deeply and exhale deeply, being conscious that you are breathing in and out. This is the first step of withdrawal from external perceptions. Now bring your mind to your nostrils and watch the flow of universal energy, prana, moving in and out.”
“Thoughts will come and go to take you away from your concentration. Don’t worry. Don’t condemn your thoughts. Don’t condemn yourself. Just relax. Bring your focus back to your breath and keep breathing. Keep watching your breath mindfully. Let your thoughts go into the rising and falling of the breath.”
Reference – Your Mind Your Best Friend by Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari, day 24.
Simple Breathing Meditation (4 count) … top
Counting silently to 4 with each breath in and counting to 4 with each breath out can help keep you focused. Sometimes this counting makes it easier to not lose concentration, especially when you are feeling scatterbrained. This is basically the same as combat breathing described above used to calm your nervous system.
Breath Counting Meditation … top
See how high you can mentally count your breaths without losing track of them during the following two exercises. These exercises may show you how poor you really are at holding your attention on your breath:
- Exercise 1 – Count on each inhale and each exhale. Inhale counting 1 then exhale as you count 2. Then inhale on 3, exhale on 4, and so on. It’s challenging to reach the count of 10 without losing track for some novices.
- Exercise 2 – Count on each exhale. Inhale without counting then count 1 as you exhale. Count 2 on the second exhale and so on.
Step Counting Meditation … top
As you walk focus on your breath and count your steps as you go. E.g., mentally say in 2 3 4, out 2 3 4, in 2 3 4 and so on. Each count is a step.
Hong-Sau Concentration … top
Using the highly regarded Hong-Sau technique you mentally chant “Hong” (rhymes with song) as the breath enters and “Sau” (sounds like saw) as it exits. Hong-Sau means “I am spirit.” Focus on your breath, watching it go in and out, but do not try to control it.
This breathing technique can give you a deep sense of inner calm and bring you to the realization that you are not your body but a soul, a silent conscious witness.
OM Breathing Chant
The sound OM or AUM has been chanted by Yogis for thousands of years tp bring them closer to “God.” It is a sacred sound which stands for “who and what God is,” a concept which cannot be captured by a word or fully comprehended by the human mind.
- Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, chant the sound OM.
- When you run out of breath, breathe in and repeat the chant.
- Continue at your own pace for 2 to 3 minutes.
This can also be done silently. Another variation preferred by Yogis is to use the sound Aaa-Uuu-Mmm where you feel the “Aaa” sound in your belly, “Uuu” in your chest area, and “Mmm” in your head.
Reference – How to Use Sound to Heal Yourself