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Breathing in four parts brings relaxation, experts say

November 9, 2008
Messenger News

E-mails are an important part of life.

How else are you going to know when somebody's life is crazier than your own? It's like one giant gossip funnel, with everything from what Obama did as a youngster to what millions of disgusting little colored squiggly lines are doing to your hand if you touch a doorknob.

Once in a while, though, you find something that's worth your time to read. Or to throw in a file to maybe read later.

Last week we changed out my old, crabby computer for a newer one, so I had to purge files. What I found there would make your eyes roll.

I did find, however, a few things I really had planned to read. Like the note from Anthony DiClementi from SociaTropin. I didn't even know what that was until I read more closely, but that's beside the point. To grab your attention, they sent out an e-mail on how to feel happier and more relaxed in one minute.

And no, he didn't say to win a lottery or quit your job or even to lock yourself in a closet with a freezer full of chocolate chip ice cream and a small Porta Potty. He was going for something real about learning to relax.

"Most of us don't breathe properly," he said. "Learning to breathe properly can have an immediate and dramatic effect on how you think and feel; and learning to do this consistently can have a lasting impact on your health."

People have been saying that for years.

The e-mail suggests practicing what in yoga is called the four-part breath - inhalation, retention, exhalation and the absence of breath within the lungs. By getting away from fast, shallow breathing, a person should be able to get away from feelings of anxiousness and unease.

Makes sense. So, what you do is:

"Through your nose, take a deep breath that completely fills your lungs with oxygen. Concentrate on filling your chest first, stomach second and belly third. Once you've completed your inhalation, you should not be able to fit any more oxygen inside your lungs. It takes roughly three to five seconds to complete the inhalation. Pause for a second. Now, through your mouth slowly exhale, emptying, in reverse order, the belly first, stomach second and chest third. Repeat this process, taking five or six deep breaths in 60 seconds."

The key, they say, is slowing down your breathing and allowing air to completely fill the lungs. And the relaxation process, they add, can start with just a few slow, deep breaths.

Once you've learned to breathe like this, you can use it to relax wherever you are. You have to breathe, after all, so you might as well learn to breathe in a helpful way. You can use this breathing to push away the stress in your life and maybe even improve your health.

It's simple. It's not expensive. You've just got to figure out a way to get the air out of your belly first. Whenever I do it, the air first leaves my chest, then my stomach and then the belly.

Dad always said I got stuff backwards.

So long, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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