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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Deep Breathing Techniques and Resources for Stress Release

YouTube is not only a great source of news and entertainment clips, it's also got some wonderful instructional videos. I've collected a few here that focus on better breathing techniques to aid in stress release.

Yoga Chicago recently reported on the usefulness of deep breathing and meditation exercises for those coping with PTSD:

The U.S. Department of Defense has not yet fully embraced yoga, but the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. is seeing impressive results from it. A recent feasibility study conducted there indicated that a particular approach of yoga had a positive effect on military personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study, funded by the Samueli Foundation, a private grant-making institution dedicated to facilitating positive change and enabling individuals to achieve their potential, used a protocol of Yoga Nidra meditation to examine its healing effect on US active-duty soldiers who were experiencing PTSD from their experiences in the Afghanistan and Iraq war zones. Yoga Nidra uses deep relaxation, deep breathing and meditation to systematically reduce physical, emotional, mental and even subconscious tension.

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.

First, a 5-minute relaxation meditation of nature scenes and sounds.

The most important part of yoga practice is the ability to breathe deeply and fully. Proper breathing is vital to our health, mental focus and sense of calm.

In this free, introductory class, Kavita guides you through simple techniques to bring fullness to your breath; these techniques are useful both on and off the yoga mat. Bring the Yoga of the Breath with you wherever you go Duration: 7 min

Ancient yogis discovered that we don't breathe through both nostrils at the same time and that each of our nostrils share characteristics of brain hemisphere dominance: for instance, when we breathe through the left nostril, the right side of the brain (creativity) is dominant and when we breathe through the right nostril our left brain (logic) is dominant

Do this for 3-5 minutes when you awake, anytime during the day, and/or before you turn in for the night.

Butterfly Breathing is a great way to start you day or any work out. It's a good cold remedy, too! It gets you well oxygenated, helps you eliminate toxins, gets your cardio vascular system revved up and bumps up your metabolism. It's a great way to perk yourself up when you're mentally fatigued. And, just about anybody can do it safely.

A good 7-minute basic yoga breathing session.

This is an example for paced breathing with the characteristics of slowed respiration (10 seconds interval) and prolonged exhalation (4 seconds inhalation : 6 seconds exhalation). This could be helpful for relaxation. Begin with the higher pitched tone. Perhaps it is better with only audio or only visual pacing. Of course you can use first both audio and video information and after that only one of them.

The 10 seconds interval was found in the so-called "Mayer waves", which is a cardiovascular rhythm. If this rhythm is enhanced, it can lead to increases in parasympathetic and decreases in sympathetic activity.

Adjust the volume so that it is pleasant to you.

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