Relaxation occurs when you can create a simultaneous response throughout your body to calm and focus all of its many complexities to work together. Many complicated methods exist to accomplish a relaxed end state, but in order to understand the underlying key to relaxation, you should begin with the most basic act of breathing. Breathing deeply correctly involves using a simple exercise to cleanse your lungs and refresh your blood with new oxygen. By entering this relaxed state, you lower your blood pressure and heart rate as well as replenish your energy levels.
Breathing Correctly for Relaxation
Sit upright, with your back straight. While you may not find this position comfortable at first, as you practice, you will discover that by opening your airway, you feel more energized and more able to focus on your breathing.
Inhale deeply for four seconds. Expand your belly in order to let your lungs fill from the bottom up. You should feel your ribcage expand as you breathe in.
Hold your breath for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds. Use your diaphragm to control the expulsion of air, so that you avoid blowing it all out within the first second. Your abdominal strength directly affects the control of air flow here, so do not strain to hold or exhale the air; otherwise, you are countering the positive effects of this exercise.
Hold your breath once you have emptied your lungs for another four seconds. This final step allows your muscles to relax and the blood with new oxygen to travel farther in your circulatory system, which overall will create the relaxing effect you want. It also allows your heart to work a little less strenuously, which will in turn lower your blood pressure and improve your overall stress level.
Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for a period of no less than eight cycles. You may continue to cycle through this until you feel completely relaxed and your muscles feel re-energized.
Lying prone or leaning against something is counter-productive to this exercise; sit or stand up to make deep breathing easier. Make sure you start your inhalation from your lower lungs. Always inhale and exhale through your nose.
Take it easy -- never strain your lungs by trying to breathe beyond your capacity. If you feel a sudden shortness of breath, panic or other negative emotions associated with high blood pressure or stress, please discuss this method with your health professional before continuing its use.