In my counseling practice I often teach my clients who have anxiety issues these two simple breathing exercises. Focusing on the breath helps the emotions to calm down. Once this becomes a habit, deep breathing can take a client from despair and fear to a place of rest and centeredness.
Simple Abdominal Breathing Exercise for Relaxation
- With right hand on chest and left hand on abdomen, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
- Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes.
You can perform this exercise as often as needed. It can be done standing up, sitting down, or lying down.
Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique
1. Place your thumb gently onto your right nostril. Place your ring and little fingers gently onto your left nostril.
2. Close your eyes and begin by softly closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly, deeply, smoothly, gently and without strain through your left nostril.
3. Close your left nostril (using your ring and little fingers) and release closure of your right. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
4. Close your right nostril and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
This completes one round. Continue the pattern from steps 4-7 for as long as you wish. When you’re finished: relax both arms, sit and breathe naturally for a few moments before opening your eyes.