In these exercises, you breathe deeply into your belly allowing the diaphragm to expand fully and thus helping you relax and focus when you need it. Start with 6-10 deep, slow and conscious breaths that should take about 1 minute and increase it up to 10 minutes with practice.
Add a mindful twist to these exercises by paying attention to the sensations in your belly and hands as you do them, or focusing on the point where one of your hands touches your skin.
Try repeating one or each of these practices 3-4 times a day for 2-5 minutes.
Deep Belly Breathing
1. Sit or lie comfortably (you can put a pillow under your knees and head). Close your eyes and relax.
2. Place one hand on your belly, and another one on your chest. This will help you to notice the difference between how your belly and chest rise as you breathe.
3. Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose, allowing air to fill the bottom of your lungs and inflate your diaphragm, raising your belly. The hand that’s on the chest should remain relatively still.
4. Slowly exhale.
5. In a variation of this exercise, it is sometimes suggested to exhale through pursed lips (as if you were whistling).
1. Place your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest.
2. For the first few rounds of breaths, breathe in and focus on feeling your hand rise as your belly expands.
3. Once you are comfortable doing this, continue, but once your belly expands, inhale further as your right hand lifts together with your expanding chest, filling both your lower and upper lungs.
4. Exhale making a light ‘whooshing’ sound and feel first your left hand and belly lower, followed by your right hand and your chest.