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TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS

Whether you want to relax or energize, one thing is sure, you can do it easily from wherever you are by just using your breath. Included in this article are breathing techniques that I use frequently to relax, to energize or to sleep. Through practice my body has learned to respond so the desired effect is achieved easily. As you practice breathing you will respond easily and quickly. Relaxing and energizing and sleeping are skills you can learn.

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TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX

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THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR STYLE, THE EASIER IT IS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT NATURALLY STRESSES YOU AND WHAT TO DO TO RELAX.

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TWO MINUTE
MOMENTS
STRESS AND THE FIGHT/FLIGHT RESPONSE Why stress about stress?
MEDITATION AND THE RELAXATION RESPONSE Why does meditation matter?
BREATH Easy steps to a healthy breath.
MINI-RELAXATION Can't take a vacation? Try this!
MINDFULNESS Become aware! Become alive!
FOCUS WORD MEDITATION Simple instructions to guide you into meditation.
ENERGY MEDITATION
A Chinese method of energizing from the inside out.
GUIDED IMAGERY Use your mind for peace of mind.
GOOD MORNING Start the day with gentle movement and energizing breath.
COFFEE BREAK Instead of re-caffeinating, how about re-energizing?
GOOD NIGHT A final thought, a deep breath, good night.


TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX, or maybe energize, it depends

LEARN HOW TO BREATHE
Adapted from Yoga Magazine.

Depending on whether you want to relax, balance, or energize, you can vary your breathing pattern to get the desired effect.

Lengthening and then holding your exhalation after all the air is expelled relaxes you, while lengthening and holding in your inhalation increases your energy. Be careful though – if you’re feeling stressed you’re better off using a balanced breath pattern, as holding your inhalation can make you more tense.

Breath Ratio Chart
In the first example, inhale for 4 counts, hold for 1, exhale for 8 counts and hold for 4. Your counts may be faster or slower depending upon your lung capacity.

INHALATION

HOLD

EXHALATION

HOLD

EFFECT

4

1

8

4

Relaxing

4

1

12

1

Relaxing

6

1

10

1

Relaxing

6

1

8

4

Relaxing

8

1

8

1

Balanced

6

2

6

2

Balanced

6

4

6

1

Energizing

6

6

6

1

Energizing

The breath ratios at the top of this chart are very relaxing, while those at the bottom are energizing. If you pay careful attention and adjust your breathing accordingly, you can both relax and energize yourself at the same time.


ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
From the Complete Yoga Book by James Hewitt

The traditional technique.
Before describing the respiratory procedure, it is important to learn the technique traditionally used for closing and releasing the nostrils. No special magical or occult significance need be attached to this particular use of the fingers, but it has been found effective for many centuries.

The index and middle finger of the right hand are folded over and pressed against the palm. The thumb is used to close the right nostril, and the ring and little finger together close the left nostril. Some authorities say that the fingers and thumb should be kept straight; others say that they should be bent at the top joint. Use whichever technique feels most comfortable. To close a nostril, press against the fatty tissue below the nasal bone so that its inner surface rests against the septum that divides the nose into two passages, blocking the nostril on that side. Only gentle pressure need be applied. Keep your fingernails clear of the tissue.

Hold the right hand up to the nose, with the thumb and fingers held in the manner described, then:

  • Close both eyes.


  • Close the right nostril by pressing the thumb against the fatty tissue below the nasal bone until it meets the septum that divides the nose into two passages.


  • Exhale steadily through the left nostril until the lungs feel emptied.


  • Inhale slowly, smoothly, and deeply through the left nostril, blocking the right nostril, until the lungs feel comfortably filled. Breathe in deeply in the manner already taught, filling the lower, middle, and upper lungs progressively.


  • Close the left nostril with the ring and little fingers of the right hand. Both nostrils are now blocked.


  • Hold the breath steadily and easily in the lungs for a few seconds.


  • Now open the right nostril by lifting the pressure of the thumb against it, but keep the left nostril blocked.


  • Exhale slowly and smoothly through the right nostril until the lungs feel emptied.


  • Pause only a second or two before starting inhaling through the right nostril. The left nostril stays blocked. Fill the lungs comfortably.


  • Close the right nostril with the thumb. Both nostrils are now blocked.


  • Retain the air for a few seconds without strain.


  • Open the left nostril by releasing the pressure from the ring and little fingers of the right hand.


  • Exhale slowly, smoothly, and continuously through the left nostril until the lungs have been emptied.


  • That completes a round. Perform three to five rounds.


  • The facial muscles should stay relaxed during the breath control; ideally, the facial expression should be serene.


TAKE AN ASSESSMENT

The more you know about your style, the easier it is to figure out what naturally stresses you and what to do to relax.

TAKE AN ASSESSMENT

TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX
Stress and strain of daily living got you down? Breathe. Relax. Reclaim yourself and your energy – two minutes at a time.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX
MORE TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS


MEDITATION & THE RELAXATION RESPONSE
Have you been wondering about meditation? Well, it’s easier than you think. You just have to get started. One breath, one focus, two moments.

MEDITATION & RELAXATION RESPONSE
MORE TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS
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