Breathing Exercises

Written by James Lyons
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With the popularity of Yoga sweeping across the western hemisphere, breathing exercises have emerged as the new stress reliever. Sadly enough, 40 years ago smoking cigarettes was considered to be an effective way to reduce stress. In fact, advertisements branded cigarettes as a stress relieving tool. Fortunately, medical science has revealed the true nature of cigarette smoke and the medical benefits of other forms of stress relief.

Breathing exercises can be done anywhere at any time, unless you're under water without an oxygen tank. This flexibility is attractive. A few deep breaths can do wonders to reduce stress and encourage relaxation. Living in southern California means living in your car several hours a week, especially if you have to commute to work. I often use my time in the car to practice my breathing exercises.

Your Natural Air Pump

In fact, people with anxiety disorders like acute panic disorder breathe shallowly. Poor breathing can actually make you more susceptible to panic attacks and severe anxiety. Too many people are taught to suck in their stomachs and breathe into their chests. Our culture promotes the flat stomach and the "six-pack" abs. When we breathe, the stomach area should rise and expand before the chest area.

Try standing up straight and taking a deep breath. Look to see what expands first, your chest or your stomach area. Check your shoulders. Do your shoulders rise as you breathe in? You shoulders should stay in one place and your stomach should rise as your diaphragm expands. Quit sucking in your stomachs and let your natural air pump do its job.

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