Breathing & Relaxation Exercises

Breathing & Relaxation Exercises




We often take breathing for granted. We all do it, or do we? Poor breathing habits stop the flow of oxygen coming in and stop the waste product of carbon dioxide from leaving the body. If you don’t have a good flow of these gases to and from your body, it becomes harder to deal with stressful situations.

*FACT- some breathing patterns may contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, muscle tension, headaches and fatigue.


Take a second to notice your breathing. Is it easy for you to do? Now that you are paying attention to your breathing, you may notice that with your out breath, a sense of pleasure or relief.

There are two main types of breathing (would you believe!)

  1. Chest or thoracic breathing – this is a very shallow breathing pattern where you may inhale air, your chest expands and the shoulders rise to take in the air.
  2. Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing- this is where you breathe in and you can feel your tummy/abdomen grow/expand.

Notice which you do….

Chest breathing or breath holding can actually increase the likelihood of chronic stress, tension, poor posture, painful feelings, or long periods of focused attention in which people forget to breathe regularly.

Abdominal breathing is more helpful for us. It is deeper and slower than shallow chest breathing, and is rhythmic and relaxing. It also helps us to balance oxygen and carbon dioxide better as well as keeping a normal heart rate, reduce muscle tension and anxiety present with stress related symptoms or thoughts.

Lets master breathing

Practicing breathing through the day, and over a course of a few weeks can provide excellent benefits for your health and well being.


Preparing to do breathing exercises:

    • Choose a time to learn the exercises when you wont be disturbed
    • Practice practice practice! Try getting into a routine, same time and place.


    Choose a position which suits you:
  • -          flat on back, palms up; on back with knees bent; in a chair sitting upright with your bum all the way to the back of the seat.
  • Before beginning your breathing, scan through your body, notice any tension, and move until you are comfortable.
  • Audio clip??? Page 32 –how do I breathe; doing abdominal breathing.
  • Breathing for tension release and increased awareness

-          Letting go of tension page 34 – audio clip & mindful breath counting; alternative