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To help you achieve dynamic relaxation prior to your studying session, proper breathing consists of a series of exercises especially intended to meet the body’s needs and keep it in vibrant relaxed health.
It is also the basis of flexible breathing which is a must for good rapport, both with people and with the material intended for study.
These breathing techniques open up the inner force and help the body relax easier. A relaxed body and an agile mind are the preconditions for effortless effective learning. Achieving this is half the battle!
Why do we need ‘proper breathing’?
Due to daily work, family or financial pressures, we tend to ignore our breathing, causing undue stress to our bodies. Breathing therefore tends to be fast and shallow.
The use of only a fraction of your lungs results in lack of oxygen and may lead to different complications. Heart diseases, sleep disorders and fatigue are some of the effects of oxygen starvation. Add to this, the negative energy of being restless and troublesome that eats up more energy resources inside the body. But… how do you stop this?
By practicing deep and systematic breathing techniques, we re-energise our body and enable it to relax more easily. If we can relax more, we can spread that relaxed state to our learning activities.
How is this good in the learning process?
With proper breathing, we increase the capacity of our lungs, bringing more oxygen supply to the body to function well:
- It is essential for the efficient functioning of the brain, nerves, glands and other internal organs;
- It develops our concentration and focus. It fights away stress and relaxes the body. It generates serenity and peace of mind;
- It offers a better self-control of temper and reactions. The mind can function clearly, avoiding arguments and wrong decisions;
- Self-control involves control over our physical body;
- Proper breathing leads to a journey of a relaxed body and mind.
Cleansing Breathing Technique
Step 1: With a pumping action, exhale, allowing the pumping action to pull in your abdomen. Repeat 20 times, keeping a steady rhythm & emphasising the exhalation each time.
Step 2: The inhale completely, inhale fully and hold your breath for as long as you comfortable can. Slowly exhale.
REPEAT 3 TIMES
This is used specifically for cleansing the air passages of mucus, tensions and blockages to the chest.
In this practice, we deliberately breathe faster and at the same time use only abdominal breathing, i.e. diaphragmatic.
The breath is short, rapid and strong.
We use the lungs as a pump, creating so much pressure as they expel the air that all waste is removed from the air passages, from the air passages, from the lungs up through the nostrils.
It’s a perfect exercise if you feel heavy or foggy in the head or have problems with your sinuses.
Centring Breathing Technique
Step 1: Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right with the thumb – count to 4.
Step 2: Hold your breath, closing both nostrils - count to 16.
Step 3: Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left with the ring & little fingers – count to 8.
Step 4: Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed – count to 4.
Step 5: Hold the breath, closing both nostrils - count to 16.
Step 6: Exhale through the left t nostril, keeping the right closed with the thumb – count to 8.
REPEAT 5 TIMES
Alternate Nostril Breathing – in this breathing technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath and exhale through the other nostril – and change.
If you are really healthy, you will breathe predominantly through the left nostril about one hour and fifty minutes, then through the right nostril.
But in many people, this natural rhythm is disturbed. Alternate Nostril Breathing restores, equalises and balances the flow of energy in the body.
Further comments and suggestions
As with any relaxation techniques, you should carry out these exercises because you enjoy them & you actually want to do them, not out of a sense of duty or as a chore. Adopt four mindful attitudes:
Beginner’s Mind = experience everything with curiosity & wonder, as if this is the first time you’ve done it.
Stay in the Present = put past memories/future planning preoccupations in an imaginary ‘pending tray’. Attend to them at a later stage.
Be Free of Judgment = if you notice judging thoughts, just let them float away. Do not hold onto them, but treat them with respect.
Keep Noticing what you are experiencing & the sensations in your body WITHOUT analysing them, resisting them, or trying to change them.
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