Breathing Exercises

By Megan Schultz

Looking for a way to find relaxation through breathing but not sure where to start? This is the place to begin!

Deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress in your lower body by sending a message to your brain to tell your body to reduce your blood pressure and heart rate. A good breathing exercise can affect your whole body in reducing tension and promoting relaxation. To begin using the power of your breathe to relax, try these exercises! Remember to take note at the end of each exercise to determine how you feel.

  • Breath Focus
    1. Close your eyes if they’re open.
    2. Take a few big, deep breaths.
    3. Breathe in. As you do that, imagine that the air is filled with a sense of peace and calm. Try to feel it throughout your body.
    4. Breathe out. While you’re doing it, imagine that the air leaves with your stress and tension.
    5. Now use a word or phrase with your breath. As you breathe in, say in your mind, “I breathe in peace and calm.”
    6. As you breathe out, say in your mind, “I breathe out stress and tension.”
    7. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Belly Breathing
    1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
    2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other on your chest.
    3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
    4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in and use it to push all the air out.
    5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
  • Morning Breathing
    1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
    2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.
    3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
    4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    1. Lie comfortably on the floor.
    2. Take a few deep breaths to relax.
    3. Breathe in. Tense the muscles of your feet.
    4. Breathe out. Release the tension in your feet.
    5. Breathe in. Tense your calves.
    6. Breathe out. Release the tension in your calves.
    7. Work your way up your body. Tense each muscle group. This includes your legs, belly, chest, fingers, arms, shoulders, neck, and face.

General Tips:

  • Choose a place to do your breathing. It could be in your bed, on your living room floor, or in a comfortable chair.
  • Don’t force it. This can make you feel more stressed.
  • Try to do it at the same time once or twice a day.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. 

Information Adapted From:

Ambardekar, N. (Ed.). (2018, January 7). Deep Breathing Exercises & Techniques for Stress Management and Relief. Retrieved May 27, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-relief-breathing-techniques#1

Healthwise Staff. (2018, June 28). Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. Retrieved May 27, 2019, from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255