What are some good mindfulness breathing techniques

4 breathing techniques for relaxation

To many people, learning meditation seems unspeakably difficult at first glance. If you only think of it, you can see images of shaven monks in rough mountain landscapes who have been praying for enlightenment for years in the most uncomfortable contortions. But meditation is so much more - and so much easier. Anyone can learn meditation. It is a wonderful method to face the challenges of everyday life calmly and mindfully. In this article we will show you 4 simple breathing techniques with which you can easily take your first steps in the world of meditation.

Breathing Technique for Calming - Why Learn Meditation?

On off. On off. You usually don't even notice it, but your breath is your constant companion. During sport, it provides you with an extra helping of oxygen so that you can perform at your best. When you sleep, however, you breathe deeply and calmly. The so-called vegetative nervous system takes care of this.

Without you having to do anything, your breath adapts to your life. The trick is: It also works the other way around. If you breathe relaxed, your muscles relax - an effect that you can use when you are restless or stressed. If you calm your body through conscious breathing, this also has positive effects on your mind. Because if you concentrate on a breathing technique, you are completely in the here and now, focus only on yourself and can thus, for example, create mental distance in stressful situations - this is exactly what happens with a meditation for calming. [1]

Mindfulness in Everyday Life: Exercise 1 - Observing Your Breath

Learning meditation is easy and starts with simple exercises. Often it is about being mindful of yourself and your surroundings and thus sharpening your feeling for what is going on around you and in you.

For example, sit comfortably in a quiet place, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. How does the air feel when it flows in and out through your nose? Slowly let your breath get deeper and deeper. Follow it up and pay attention to the smallest details. Does the air feel warm in your nose? Do you feel the breathing in your chest or stomach? Benevolently observe your breath flow. You don't have to force yourself to do anything, because breathing happens all by itself. This breathing exercise is particularly suitable as an introduction to meditation, but can also serve as a prelude to other techniques. [2]

Breathe properly: Exercise 2 - Relaxation through abdominal breathing

Deep abdominal breathing supplies your body with plenty of oxygen and relaxes your muscles. In everyday life we ​​often breathe shallowly because it is difficult to breathe properly in unfavorable positions such as the curved "desk posture": The abdominal wall is pressed in, the diaphragm has to work against this resistance and the result is inefficient breathing, which supplies us with less oxygen than we actually need - which in turn ensures that the breathing rate increases to compensate for this deficiency.

To practice deep, healthy abdominal breathing, you can lie on your back on a surface that is not too soft and stand your knees at an angle so that your feet are on the floor. Now place your hands on your stomach with your fingers spread apart so that you cover the entire area between the lowest rib and the pelvis.

Breathe deeply and in a controlled manner and watch how your stomach moves: When you breathe in, it arches outwards, when you breathe out, it flattens out again. As with the first exercise, concentrate on what you feel - an easy-to-implement meditation for beginners. Once you have internalized what proper abdominal breathing feels like after a while, you can consciously incorporate it into your everyday life again and again until it becomes a healthy and beneficial habit. [3]

Relaxed in a few minutes: Exercise 3 - Exhale for twice as long

If you are tense or stressed, this can usually be seen clearly in your physical reaction: your jaw tightens, your muscles harden, maybe you pull your eyebrows together. Mindfulness exercises like the previous one will help you pay attention to such signals from your body. If you notice the signs, you can counter it with a breathing technique.

A simple breathing technique for relaxation is one-on-two breathing. You will exhale twice as long as you inhale for a few minutes. As a result, you involuntarily relax yourself and counteract your excitement and tension. The great thing about it: You can use this technique anytime, anywhere, even when people are around you.

With a little practice you can lengthen the breathing cycle: for example, if you start breathing in for 3 seconds and then breathing out for 6 seconds, over time you can increase to 4 seconds in and 8 seconds out. The more you practice this technique, the faster you can use it to bring yourself into balance and the more effective your meditation will be.

More calm and focus: Exercise 4 - box breathing

Box breathing is a breathing technique in which you breathe in and out evenly while holding your breath between breaths. The regular rhythm calms your heartbeat and you will reach a balanced, focused state of mind after just a few cycles.

Begin the breathing technique by letting all of the air out of your lungs. Then the first breathing cycle begins: breathe in for 4 seconds and hold your breath for the same amount of time. Then exhale for 4 seconds and then again hold your breath for 4 seconds. [4]

At first, this meditation is unfamiliar for beginners and you may get a little dizzy, so you should do the exercise while sitting and listening to your body. If you get confused with counting, you can create an image in your mind's eye: Imagine a square, the lines of which you “breathe along” evenly. Each horizontal line stands for an element of the breathing technique, i.e. inhalation or exhalation, and each vertical line for the breathing pause. You need 4 seconds for each line. With a little practice, you can try a 5 second rhythm later.

Don't worry - you are not alone

“What was it like, breathe in for 4 seconds… wait, should I sit or lie down now?” Beginners sometimes have difficulties concentrating fully on their breath. If you feel like this, don't worry - there is no right or wrong in meditating. Stay calm and allow yourself to easily see any mental wandering.

In addition, you are not alone: ​​Guided meditations help you to focus better and guide you in relaxed breathing. An experienced meditation trainer or an app like sonamedic can help: Simple basics of different breathing techniques are part of many sessions and work extremely well in combination with the calming background music. The speaker's voice gently guides you back to meditation over and over again. So your thoughts come to rest. You can concentrate fully on your breathing and experience its beneficial effects on body and mind.

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[1] Techniker Krankenkasse: Meditative breathing exercises for more relaxation in everyday life (3/4). Date of access: 10/21/2020. On-line.

[2] Hartmann, Corinna: The deceleration of the breath in: Spectrum Psychology, 4/2019. On-line.

[3] HKK health insurance: Relaxed through abdominal breathing. Date of access: 10/21/2020. On-line.

[4] Joyful, Julie: No stress! Breathing exercises to relax. Date of access: 10/21/2020. On-line.