One of the main reasons many of us are tense is our breathing. Most people breathe very shallowly, using only the top part of their lungs. Deep Breathing allows us to use our entire lungs, providing more oxygen to our bodies, and energizing and rejuvenating every organ and cell in our bodies. It is probably the most effective and beneficial method of relaxation we've seen.
Note: This is particularly effective when you do it after Progressive Relaxation -- if you haven't already fallen asleep!
- Lie on your back.
- Slowly relax your body, starting with your feet and moving through every part of your body until you have reached -- and relaxed -- your face and scalp.
- Do a quick check to see if you've missed any place. If so, relax it.
- Slowly begin to inhale, first filling your lower belly, then your stomach area, and then your chest and the top of your lungs almost up to your shoulders. Hold for a second or two, then begin to exhale. Empty the very bottom of your lungs first, then the middle, then finally the top.
- Continue this breathing for 4 or 5 minutes. Don't force your breathing; it's not a contest to see how much air you can take in. Just do it in a relaxed, peaceful manner.
- After a while, imagine that you are resting on a warm, gentle ocean. The sun is shining peacefully on your body. Imagine that you rise on the gentle swells of the water as you inhale, and that you slowly descend as you exhale.
- Continue this relaxing breathing as long as you wish (hopefully until you fall asleep).