A key component of reducing stress is learning how to relax and clear your mind. Breathing is an important tool to help you along the way. Breathing may seem as simple as breathing in and out; however, this is not entirely the case.

For relaxation to be successful, you will need to read up a little, listen to some CDs, and most of all practice a bit of breathing properly. Here are a few easy breathing practices to help you learn to truly relax.

Proper Sitting for Proper Breathing

First and foremost, make sure that you are comfortable. Sitting upright with a straight spine will help the energy flow and prepare you for proper breathing exercises. Do not sit too rigidly, or you will be uncomfortable and unresponsive to the proper breathing format.

Relaxation of the Body

Once you have gotten into a comfortable seated position, it is important to relax your body to prepare it for breathing. No matter how well you practice your breathing, if your body is tense, you will not have success. Begin by relaxing the muscles in your toes, moving to your ankles, and work your way all the way up to the top of your head. Once your body is in its relaxed position, then it will be time to begin your proper breathing techniques.

Pay Attention to Your Breaths

In the beginning, simply pay attention to your breaths. Be attuned to the rhythm of the breaths, focusing on the in and out of those breaths. Do not try to control those breaths; just be aware of them. It is very important to be aware of how you are breathing in the beginning before trying to learn any new technique on how to breathe. Being aware is an important part of the process.

Pay Attention to Your Body

Once you are acutely aware of how you breathe, it is important to pay attention to your body. If you are not experiencing your stomach rising and falling with each breath, you may be tense in the moment. It is important to have your breath enter into the nostrils and leave through mouth naturally.

Establish a Rhythm

It is very important to establish a breathing rhythm. Once you become aware of your breathing, you will notice that it is easier to establish a rhythm. Once that rhythm is established, you will find your stress leaving and you will learn how to really relax.

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