Relaxation Is Good, But Relaxation With Breathing Energizes, Youthens and De-Stresses
In my previous blog I talked about my brush with Cancer and how I used relaxation, along with other things to recover from it.
I used four main strategies and they worked for me. It is more than 25 years since I had the malignant lump removed from my breast and I haven’t had a re-occurrence.
These are the four strategies I used:
- First I examined my lifestyle, and more importantly my attitude. I realised that some of my actions were causing worry and stress, so I handled these by making changes. Not only was I trying to fit too much into my life, but I was having a problem with a few people I had to deal with on a regular basis. I had to find a way to cut back on my workload and handle the upsets.
- Secondly I increased my nutritional intake and supplements daily.
- The third action was to re-read ‘Relief Without Drugs’ by Dr Ainslie Meares and carry out the relaxation techniques for an hour morning and night. The meditation exercises had a calming effect and made the day flow more smoothly. Some people call the state I go into the Alpha state. I have since attended a workshop on Alpha and learned how to use it in the whole of life to make things flow more easily, to increase efficiency and to reduce stress.
- The fourth thing I did was to let go of negative self-talk and change my thoughts to the positive, uplifting and optimistic. This has been a much longer journey, and even now I occasionally find myself dropping back into old patterns of thinking, especially self-criticism, but I am aware of myself doing it and can quickly ‘change my mind’.
That was back in the 1980s, and since then I have lived through many challenging circumstances.
After lapsing for a while, I re-discovered meditation and its value, but even more importantly I discovered deep breathing.
Some people will tell you to do ‘controlled breathing.’ One technique is to say ‘in’ when you breathe in, and ‘relax’ when you breathe out. Another method says breathe in for 3 and out for 3.
Tony Robbins’ breathing method is:
• Breath in for 1 count
• Hold for 4 counts
• Breath out for 2 counts
For example – if you were to breath in for four seconds, then you would hold your breath for sixteen seconds and then breathe out for eight. He suggests doing this this ten times, three times a day (morning, evening and before bed). One of the real benefits I obtained from listening to Tony talking about breathing, was to learn the effect breathing has on the lymphatic system, and therefore health and energy. More about that later.
The Breathing Method That Worked For Me
About three years ago, I met a lady here on the Gold Coast called Helen Johnson, a naturopath who has devised the ‘Johnson Breathing Technique’.
This breathing technique made such a huge difference to the stress and tension I was carrying, especially around my neck, shoulders and upper arms (see previous post – ‘Being Energized and Looking Younger With Relaxation’).
The beauty of The Johnson Breathing Technique is that it changes the way we breathe all day, not just at specific times like ‘three times a day’, before sleep, when meditating / relaxing etc.
Of course it is still necessary to practice it until it becomes natural.
Helen says in her book ‘Natural Stress and Anxiety Relief’: ‘We were born breathing the right way and the physical body will easily go back to it if we let our learned conditioning go. The physical body is not made to run on adrenaline all the time; we have programmed it to run on adrenaline and we can change the patterning’.
What she means by ‘running on adrenaline’ is, that when we are stressed the body’s fight or flight mechanism clicks in and adrenaline is released throughout the system. This is not good for the body.
The Johnson Breathing Technique is simple but not easy. It requires some practice to change the body’s programming.
The simple steps in brief are:
- Place your hands one on top of the other – palm to the back of the other hand – three finger-widths below the belly button.
- Allow your stomach and abdominal muscles to fall outwards / forwards towards your thighs and allow your shoulders to drop down and forward, just relax them, in other words – slouch. … Many of you will feel the tension go out of your neck, shoulders and back if you can relax these muscles, immediately releasing neck, shoulder and back pain. (This was the case with me).
- Start by taking a breath in – inhale, then, as you breathe out (exhale) use your hand to push, gently, the lower abdominal muscles in towards the spine. .. as if you are pushing the air out of your lower abdomen (power center) rather than from your lungs alone. At the same time, pull your muscles in towards the spine.
- Then let the muscles go so that the body can breathe in again. When you relax your gut muscles you will feel the air going right down into your stomach. Push your lower abdominal muscles out from the inside to help the natural action.
In summary – pull your lower abdomen in to expel all the air from your lungs, and push the lower abdominal muscles out to allow the air to fill up your lungs completely.
It takes a bit of coordination at first, but if you start by practicing the breathing lying down, and then sitting up comfortably and straight – also while meditating - you will find after a while it comes naturally. Helen suggests using the technique constantly for six weeks to re-educate and re-program the body.
This is our natural way of breathing, and after a while you will find you can do it while driving the car (great de-stressor in traffic), while walking, exercising or just going about your daily routine.
For a full description of the Johnson Breathing Technique or find out more visit http://www.johnsonstressrelief.com.au/ and you may choose to buy the book which contains a more detailed description of how to do the breathing.
What Does Correct Breathing Do For Me?
- Allows me to get rid of the stress and tension around my neck and shoulders. This not only relieves pain, but I feel more energized, youthful and attractive
- Calms my mind and my thoughts
- Enables me to better handle stressful situations – to ‘respond’ not ‘react’ when I am faced with negativity
- Helps me maintain a healthy weight.
The list is endless.
We don’t call it ‘the breath of life’ for nothing.
If we learn how to breathe properly – as we did when babies – then we will not just live, but enjoy life more, be healthier, happier and more energized.
Relaxation and correct breathing go together. Give it a try, and do let me know your thoughts and results.
Live with Energy
Visit: http://www.theenergybook.com/ to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’