Grace Filled Therapy

Try This Breathing Technique

Do you ever find yourself unconsciously holding your breath when you're tense? This can cause tension to build in your body and may let the chest collapse, leading to misalignment and increasing pain.

Proper breathing provides oxygen to the muscles and body, helps you to stay relaxed and centered, and even helps you maintain correct body alignment throughout your day.  You can also use breathwork as part of a stress-reduction program by following this progressive relaxation exercise.

1. Begin by lying in a comfortable position without crossing your arms or legs, and focus on your breathing to create a slow, deep pattern. Inhale through your nose while counting 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004 concentrating on only expanding your abdomen (not chest or diaphram). Hold the breath for one second, and exhale through your mouth with a count of 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008. Inhale and exhale in this pattern seven - eight times.

2. Beginning with your head, tense your facial muscles as tightly as possible and count to five. Release the muscles completely, and sense the muscles feeling heavy and still. Work down your entire body, tensing muscle groups and then relaxing them. After the head, move to the neck, chest, arms and hands, abdomen, back, thighs and gluteals, lower legs, and feet.

3. After relaxing each set of muscles, mentally scan your body for any areas of remaining tension and ask those areas to relax completely.

4. Repeat the slow breathing exercise.

5. Gently begin to move your body to come out of the deeply relaxed state.

Try using progressive relaxation directly before or after your sessions, before  or while you are in bed, or at any time during the day as a pick-me-up. Focus on taking full, deep, even, rhythmic breaths. With a little practice, you can become more aware of your own breathing patterns and use breathwork effectively as you move throughout your day.


by Anne Williams