Breathing for Relaxation, Balance and Energy


Your breathing pattern sets the pace for life. Feel your heart. Is it fast? Is it slow? The conscious use of breath can help you take charge of your mind-set and emotions--all key to getting into an optimal learning state.


How do you do it? Through patterned breathing where you inhale, hold, exhale and hold. The control comes in when you vary the time for each. Lengthening and then holding your exhalation after all the air is expelled relaxes you, while lengthening and holding in your inhalation increases your energy. Be careful though, yoga experts caution if you're feeling stressed you're better off using a balanced breath pattern, as holding your inhalation can make you more tense.


The breath ratios at the top of the following chart are very relaxing, while those at the bottom are energizing. If you pay careful attention and adjust your breathing accordingly, you can both relax and energize yourself at the same time.


BREATH PATTERNS


In the first example, inhale for 4 counts, hold for 1, exhale for 8 counts, and hold for 4. Your counts may be faster or slower depending upon your lung capacity.


INHALATION HOLD EXHALATION HOLD EFFECT

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4 beats......1 beat.....8 beats......4 beats Relaxing

4 beats......1 beat.....12 beats.....1 beat Relaxing

6 beats......1 beat.....10 beats.....1 beat Relaxing

6 beats......1 beat.....8 beats......4 beats Relaxing


8 beats......1 beat.....8 beats......1 beat Balanced

6 beats......2 beats....6 beats......2 beats Balanced


6 beats......4 beats....6 beats......1 beat Energizing

6 beats......6 beats....6 beats......1 beat Energizing

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Source: Yoga Journal


For Learning:


* Use the Relaxing breathing patterns when you need to absorb and assimilate new information.