Dr. Andrew Weil has been a great source of information on many levels. The most helpful tips I’ve learned from him are his deep breathing exercises for stress relief. His concept is that breathing exercises can produce a relaxed and clear state of mind and reduce stress.
On his site, Dr. Weil has three exercises that are designed to provide relaxation, increase energy and center you. All three are worth introducing into your daily life. While I’ve had good results using them at work, they would be equally effective first thing in the morning or in the evening.
Here are 3 such deep breathing exercises for stress relief:
The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath): adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise: This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, 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.
Breath Counting: a (deceptively) simple technique much used in Zen practice.
He has also authored a book (also available as book on CD) Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing (The Self Healing Series).
I’m a runner, so learning to breathe properly was something that came to me out of necessity. Practicing these methods on an ongoing basis really do provide a sense of calm, relaxation and wellness.
We own the CD version of Dr. Weil’s book, but I have not yet run through the entire thing. Revisiting these deep breathing exercises reminds me to load that onto my iPod. I could always benefit from reminders of relaxation!