How to adopt the ‘easy breathing’ habit

Maintaining an easy breathing pattern, where your chest and diaphragm are relaxed and moving naturally in harmony with each inhale and exhale helps re-develop and maintain a comfortable physical state with a clear and alert mind.

(In the beginning it is likely that accumulated tensions and poor breathing habits may have produced an uneven breathing pattern.  If this is the case you may find it helpful to first use the Sigh Breath method a few times to begin calming and regularising your breathing.)

How to use Easy Breathing

  1. Pay attention to the natural, effortless movement of your breathing cycle. Feel the movements and sensations. (If necessary use two or three Sigh Breaths first.)
  2. Pay attention to the inhale, then the slight pause, followed by the natural exhale, and then another slight pause.
  3. Aim to have your breathing become shallower and slower. Do not force this otherwise it will have the opposite effect. The slowing down should occur gradually and gently.
  4. Do this for three to ten minutes – paying attention to nothing else.

Through practise you may discover ways of utilising Easy Breathing as a Quick Relaxer – a way of relaxing quickly for a few moments. As you experiment with the different breathing methods aim to discover which methods work best for you in different situations in your life.

When to use Easy Breathing

  1. Whenever you wish to pace yourself and maintain a calmer and more centred internal state – at work, in sport, socially, etc.
  2. When you wish to clear your thinking in order to give your full attention to an important matter.
  3. As a Quick Relaxer – especially when it is inappropriate to relax with eyes closed, or to fully stop what you are doing.
  4. To develop the habit of maintaining a clear mind and calm body.  Use Easy Breathing in odd spare moments: in lifts, in queues, in waiting rooms, at traffic lights, during the commercial breaks when watching TV, while listening to someone, waiting on the phone, or when you are being delayed. In this way you can turn what might otherwise been a frustrating or irritating event into a beneficial and centring experience.
  5. To develop an on-going natural awareness of your physical state – so that any chest tightness or breathing unevenness alerts you to take action to clear your thinking and calm your body.
  6. To train yourself to feel mentally and physically comfortable even when under pressure.

Benefits of Easy Breathing

  • Helps defuse the physical effects of the stress response
  • Provides an instant break and reduces frantic mental activity by centring your attention on a single issue rather than having it scattered
  • Gradually builds up your depleted store of carbon dioxide – your ‘natural tranquiliser’
  • Enables you to take a mental and physical break without stopping what you are doing
  • Enables you to maintain physical comfort while being mentally active.

by Reg Connolly