This is a pretty basic breathing exercise that’s good for calming a person down.  You can use it when you feel yourself getting tense, or  losing focus,  You can also offer to teach it to other participants who might need a redirect or some calming too.

  • Sit comfortably or lie on the floor.

  • Put one hand on your belly, one hand on your chest.  Take a moment to feel how you breathe now, is it mostly your chest moving, mostly your belly? How long does an inhale take?  An exhale?

  • Now watch me.  When I “take a deep breath” See how my chest and shoulders rose?  That’s not actually a very deep breath, it stays mostly in the chest.  Now watch as I do a belly breath.  In and out vs up and down.  Notice when shoulders go up on inhale, one’s diaphragm moves in, not letting lungs really expand…

  • Open your mouth slightly and sigh out.

  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose, slowly and completely, expanding your upper belly as you go.  Ideally, your chest will stay fairly still.

  • Exhale through your mouth, slowly and completely, for about as long, maybe a bit longer than you breathed in.

  • Repeat.  In through nose, out the mouth, for a count of ten.


Rectangular Breathing

  • Sit in a comfortable position.  As we are working on best practices and overall healthiness, either lie down, or sit up.  Whatever you do most comfortably with your spine straight. ;}

  • Close your eyes and visualize a rectangle, longest sides are up and down, shortest sides are top and bottom.

  • Inhale through your nose as you slide up the first long side of the rectangle.

  • Keep this breath in as you slide your awareness along the top, short side of the shape.

  • Exhale as you slide down the long back.

  • Let your breath stay out as you picture sliding along the bottom of the rectangle.

  • Inhale as you again rise back up the front.

  • Repeat 5 cycles.

  • How was that?  Were some steps harder than others?  Play with the overall and relative lengths of the sides.