Do you breathe? Have you ever considered how you breathe? Breathing and the way we sit to breathe is a very small and almost insignificant thing for most of us. However, it is something that is so precious and vital to life, but somehow it is just so taken for granted it doesn’t even feature in most people’s thinking.

Just take a moment right now and take a really deep breath and just really pay attention to how you do it? What is it you do? How do you prepare to take a deep breathe? Which bits of your body do you move? What are you thinking about as you did it?

So many people these days have lost the art of taking a great deep breath. Since it’s something that we have to do and are doing it between 5 and 20 times a minute depending on activity levels, why not do it as elegantly as possible?

When you took your deep breathe, we’re your shoulders involved in the process? It’s estimated that up to 70% of people in the UK are secondary breathers, this means that they breath with their shoulders to expand their chest and lungs and not their diaphragm. Take a big deep breath again and just notice did you lift your shoulders or lower your diaphragm and expand your belly. Breathing with your shoulders builds a lot of tension in the upper part of your body. If you were to then add driving and or lots of computer usage than tension just builds and builds.

Breathing with ease requires us to pay attention, to take a little bit of time to learn how to breathe again, consciously paying attention to the mechanics of how we do this. Since we are breathing anyway let’s do it well.

So how do we breathe elegantly well? Every great breath has an inhale and an exhale and often it is easier concentrate on the exhale as the inhale will naturally follow. To start with simply tighten your stomach muscles and exhale hard. This will naturally start to get your diaphragm involved in your breathing. You will then want to breathe in, do so slowly to the count of 5 (5,4,3,2,1) and then pause for a moment, while allowing your stomach muscles to relax. Then simply repeat.

Just breathing out 5,4,3,2,1 and pause. Breathing in 1,2,3,4,5 and pause and repeat. This should take about 12 seconds, 5 breaths a minute. After 2 or 3 cycles relax your gaze and quietly smile. After 2 or 3 more cycles notice how you experience your heartbeat in your body and finally enjoy the relaxation that follows.

Breathing elegant well is simple. Just breathe.

If the moment is getting too much for you then try this very simple technique:

Relief Breathing

This is a simple way to take a moment focus on you and let something go.

Think of situation in your life that has been getting you down. Or even the moment you are in right now.

Now! Close your eyes and just imagine you are wearing a hot, heavy, clammy suit of armour. Feel it begin to weigh your shoulders down, compressing and constricting your body. Pause for a moment to feel the weight of it on your body

Now, imagine removing the armour and enjoy breathing a huge sigh of relief. Do that right NOW!

For the next minute, breathe each breath as if it is your first breath free of the burdensome weight of the armour.

Now just continue breathing in and out. Breathing out 5,4,3,2,1 and pause. Breathing in 1,2,3,4,5 and pause and repeat. This should take about 12 seconds, 5 breaths a minute.

Check back in with your situation. Chances are, it no longer feels like such a burden. You may even find yourself with new insights and a renewed sense of energy and vigour.

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