The essential feature of this exercise is that everything is completed SLOWLY.
1. Stand upright with your arms by your side. Exhale.
2. Breathe in through your nose. As you do so, inhale, filling as fully as possible your stomach/abdomen area first and thereafter your chest.
3. At the same time, bring your arms above your head and rise on to your toes. Hold this for a moment.
4. Breathe out through your chest. As you do so, lower your arms to your sides and your feet to the floor again.
You can repeat this between 3 and 10 times. If you wish you can count to 8 as you inhale and do the same as you exhale. Alternatively, you can start to raise yourself onto the balls of your feet when your arms reach the horizontal halfway point of their journey to above your head, lowering yourself onto your heels slowly from the halfway point of their journey down.
The same sequence illustrated in the The complete breath can be used at any time, without the accompanying stretching movements. It is useful to avoid the build up of tension, or to reduce it once it has occurred. The sequence is as follows:
1. Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of 8. As you inhale the air, imagine you are filling your stomach/abdomen area first and thereafter your chest.
2. Hold this breathe in for as long as it remains comfortable to do so.
3. Expel the air slowly through your nose to the count of 8, expelling the air from your abdomen upwards through your chest.
4. Refrain from taking another intake of breath until it becomes uncomfortable and repeat the sequence 1 to 4, again.
Three times is usually enough to reduce the level of tension and to refresh you. You may extend this if you need to do so. It is a useful technique for the exam room.
This is an effective relaxant that can help with tension and head congestion.
Inhale through the right nostril, closing the left nostril with the thumb of your left hand. Count slowly to 4 as you inhale.
Close both nostrils with your left thumb and forefinger and hold your breath to the slow count of 4.
Exhale through your left nostril to the slow count of 4, whilst closing your right nostril with your forefinger (or first two fingers whichever you find easier).
Release both nostrils, remaining without breath for another count of 4.
Repeat, breathing in through the left nostril.
Once you have established an even 4-4-4-4 routine and can complete the thumb and forefinger movements easily, close your eyes when doing this exercise.
You can try variations on this 4-4-4-4 routine. Try in for 6, count to 3; out for 6, count to 3; in for 6, etc. 8/4/8/4 combinations, once you’re used to the others, will slow and deepen your breathing even more. You can practise this exercise for 5 minutes or so at a time – even three or four sequences will be beneficial.