Thursday, August 25, 2005

an easy breathing exercise

source: Dr. Weil's weekly bulletin

Want To Reduce Stress? Do What Comes Naturally!

Busy schedules, too many errands, and high expectations we place on ourselves (and on others) can create internal stress and anxiety. If you are looking for a useful, always-available and free tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind, try breathing exercises. Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.

Breath counting is one way to get in tune with your breathing. A simple technique much used in Zen practice, breath counting can help to lower stress and promote relaxation. Start by doing this in a quiet room - sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary. To begin the exercise, count "one" to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count "two," and so on up to "five." Then begin a new cycle, counting "one" on the next exhalation. Never count higher than "five," and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to "eight," "12," even "19."

Try to do 10 minutes of this breathing form of meditation every day. You will see and feel the results in many aspects of your life!

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