Breathing Techniques


Intro to Breathing Techniques. 

For millennia, kung fu artists and yogis have practiced a daily routine of building up positive energy and discharging any negative energy in the body.  Modern medical and neuroscience suggests breathing techniques help with everything from stress reduction to sports performance, weight loss, DNA function, deeper sleep, improved mood and cognitive performance. 


In general, we want to breathe in accordance with the RISE Method, especially in moments of stress.  

Relax: Relax the abdomen and pelvic region.
Inhale: Breathe in deeply through the nose.
Sound: Observe the sound of the breath and the sensations in the body.
Exhale: Breathe out through the nose.

More information on each part of this breathing technique:

Relax. When we get stressed, one of the things that happens is we tense up the belly and the pelvic region. The first part of RISE breathing is to relax the belly and let the stomach out so that the lungs can expand fully.  When the lungs expand fully we get more oxygen.  When the belly expands fully we stimulate the relaxation nerve of the body, which is called the vagus nerve.  

Inhale. The second part is to inhale deeply through the nose. Inhaling through the nose allows the body to filter and humidify the air to a more comfortable level for the lungs. Breathing through the nose stimulates a relaxing mode of the nervous system called the parasympathetic mode.

Sound and Sensation. The third step is to either observe the sounds of your breath or your environment, observe the sensations in the body, or make a sound. The reason to observe the sound or observe the sensations in the body is because when we get stressed, we lose our present-moment thinking. This keeps us from being mindful about what's happening in the present moment. When we observe the sounds of the breath, we're immediately brought back to the present moment. We can also, in this step, observe the sensations of the breath, [delete repetition of sentence] the coolness of the breath in the nose, the warmth of the breath in the lungs, and any sensations in the body. 

Exhale. The fourth part is to exhale, either through the nose, normally, or through the mouth if you want to be more mindful. Exhale fully and deeply, without force or pressure.

When we breathe deeply into the belly and take time for these conscious breaths, science suggests that it decreases cortisol and increases the antioxidants in the body.

During any tense or stressful moment, taking the time to be conscious of the breath will help defuse your stress.  

The RISE Method is copyright Rob Hartman.  All rights reserved.