In the last lesson, you learned about epigenetics and the role that they play in health and developing chronic diseases.
In this lesson, we will focus on breathing basics and the first breathing technique – the relaxation breath. Much of this lesson comes from the teachings of Dr. Weil. If you are not familiar with Dr. Weil, I highly recommend checking him out.
You can find out more at drweil.com.
Breathing is the natural object of meditation. This is because placing attention on your breath will change your state of consciousness.
You will begin to relax and detach from ordinary awareness.
If you can make yourself aware of your breathing for 10 seconds more today than you were yesterday then you will:
Have taken a measurable step towards enlightenment.
Expanded your consciousness.
Furthered communication between mind and body.
Become a little more whole, thus improving your health.
Prior to this course, when you think of health, you probably only considered diet and exercise. Make no mistake of it, diet and exercise are important, BUT they are NOT the sole determinants of health.
People who have excellent diets and exercise faithfully are not always healthy. Why? According to Dr. Weil, the likelihood of being a healthy person who does not breathe well is slim.
Breath is at the very core of health and wellness. And so focusing on your breath every day will help in improving your health.
Let's move into our first breathing technique – the relaxation breath, or the 4-7-8 breath. This is a wonderful breath taught by Dr. Weil.
The benefits of utilizing this quick breathing technique are that it is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.
Unlike drugs like anti-anxiety medications, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it, but gains in power with repetition and practice.
This is what makes it a very powerful anti-anxiety technique, more so than any drug.
Once you develop this technique, by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you.
You can use this whenever anything upsetting happens BEFORE you react.
Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension or stress. You can even use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended enough. Everyone can benefit from it.
I even recommend to teach it to your kids! Even young kids! Though young kids may not get the technique right in the beginning, the practice and habit will form, and they will have it as a useful tool for handling stress as they go through life.
Do this with your kids, or at least in front of your kids, to set the example of this great technique now. In total, at least when starting out, this breath should only take you about 90 seconds to complete...a little less in fact.
So here is what you are going to do:
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Put tongue on roof of mouth in your soft palate just behind your front teeth.
Close your mouth AND EYES, BACK STRAIGHT and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath.
Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Do this breath at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. However, do NOT do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice.
Be sure to PRACTICE DAILY. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. You also do not need to hold yourself to only a 4-7-8 count, but you DO need to maintain the ratio. So if you are able to hold your breath longer then you could try it as an 8-14-16 count.
You are bound only by the length of time that you can hold your breath and the ratio needed to complete the technique.
It is important to note that you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, but do not be concerned; it will pass will practice and time.
After 4-6 weeks, you can start trying to use it for situations such as someone saying something that gets under your skin. Use it before you react. Or a screaming kid. Again use it before you react. It doesn't do you much good after.
This breath is also great to deal with cravings and help with sleep. I recommend to practice it before reaching for that piece of cake or candy and also practice it just as you are laying down for the night.
Lastly, you do want to practice this breath twice daily. That's 4 breaths twice daily, but make sure to space these out. You should not be practicing 4 breaths and then 4 breaths immediately after.
After 2-3 months of use, significant changes will take places such as lowering your heart rate, BP, and improved digestion. As mentioned before, this is also a powerful anti-anxiety measure, much more so than drugs.
If you would like to see this technique for yourself, then visit Dr. Weil's site.
YOUR TASK: practice this breath twice today. Remember, it's a 4-7-8 count which constitutes one breath. Do this count 4x times to make up one breath cycle. Complete 2 breath cycles in total today....one immediately after this lesson and another before bed.
In the next lesson, you will learn the breath counting technique.