“Breath is spirit.”
-Apostle John Eckhardt, Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance Manual
One of the things I have discovered in working with patients for many years now is that they are often also suffering from anxiety, fear of falling and/or worrying about when the next attack of vertigo is going to come. Many of my patients also experience situational depression, especially if they have a chronic problem that has not been effectively addressed.
I teach breathing techniques to help my patients who are suffering with anxiety or depression – techniques that help reduce their feelings of worry, nervousness or despair.
I have found the mind and emotions are strongly connected to the stability and ease of the breath.
Some people do need professional mental health services such as physician intervention for medication, or maybe counseling from a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker. So I encourage everyone who might be suffering from mental health fluctuations to consider some medical health intervention, if that’s what you need.
If you would like to enjoy a breathing exercise with me, please join me now for mindful breathing – which is a relaxed awareness of the breath.
I would like to invite you to just get comfortable, sitting or lying down in a position where you can stay without moving for a few minutes.
- If you are sitting, scoot all the way back and have your back against the backrest of your chair. Uncross your legs, put your feet flat on the floor if that is comfortable.
- If you are lying down, you may want to put a pillow under your head and maybe a pillow under your knees so that you can really relax for the next few minutes.
I call this “Relaxation Breathing,” and this is what I teach to all of my patients who are suffering with any mental or emotional fluctuations.
This practice helps to shift us into our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the state we really need to be in to heal.
We’re going to just begin by breathing in, and noticing that we are breathing in. Now breathe out, and notice that you are breathing out.
Breathing in, I’m aware of my in-breath.
Breathing out, I’m aware of my out-breath.
In and out, aware of the breath.
On the next in-breath, begin to follow the breath the whole time as the air is coming in.
Keep your attention focused on the air coming in the whole time, and then begin to notice when the air turns around and goes back out.
Breathing in, I follow the breath.
Breathing out, I follow the breath.
Breathing in and breathing out, I follow the breath and notice the air flow changing directions.
Now begin to notice that there is a gap in the breath where the air turns around to go back the other direction – begin to notice those gaps in the breath.
Breathing in, I follow my breath and I notice the gap in the breath.
Breathing out, I follow my breath and I notice the gap in the breath.
Begin to stay with that observation of the breath and notice the spaces in between. Let your body relax into that breathing and concentration exercise.
This is really the key to shifting from a state of sympathetic nervous system over-stimulation and stress to a state of parasympathetic nervous system and relaxation.
There are many ways to make that parasympathetic shift in the nervous system. Relaxation breathing is one of the techniques that my patients and I find most effective.
Breathing in, I follow the breath and notice the gap in the breath.
Breathing out, I follow the breath and notice the gap in the breath.
Then begin to notice where the air is moving in your body, and use that as an observation and concentration point as you are following the breath.
It may take up to five or ten minutes to really calm your nervous system down, but you can continue this exercise for as long as it takes to feel calm or until you begin to feel a wave of calm relaxing over you. Once you feel a wave of relaxation, then the waves will keep coming and coming as long as you continue the exercise, until you feel really more grounded and stable.
One word of caution is that this relaxation breathing exercise is not intended to manipulate the breath in any way, but simply to observe it.
This has been a practice of mindful Relaxation Breathing. I hope you enjoyed it.
Gratitude to my Inspiration:
Thich Nhat Hahn, who we affectionately call “Thay” or “Teacher,” is a global leader, poet, writer and peace activist. In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. nominated his dear friend Thich Nhat Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize.
During his 90+ years of life, Thich Nhat Hanh has created a global community of practitioners who practice his teachings of mindfulness and aspire to live in peace. It is through understanding his teachings, that I have been able to incorporate mindfulness into my life and into my methodology for caring for others who suffer like me.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.