The two audios below are samplings of my morning class 'combo' routines... but can be used at any time. You'll start by loosening the neck and shoulders, gently stretching the diaphragm and abdominals, detoxing the body, 6-minutes of breathing in the "therapeutic zone" then finishing with a tapping routine to stimulate the cells of the lungs to further detox the system and wake the body. Both tracks are the same except for the breathing sections. Choose whichever feels most comfortable. If the 4-8 count is too difficult, try the 3-6 count. Be sure to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth on these excercises. The 'whooshing' sound mentioned in the audio does not engage the vocal chords; it is a silent whooshing sound that comes from forcing the air out of the lungs, around the tongue and through pursed lips (tongue on the roof of the mouth.) I've also placed a meditation after the routines in case you want to follow up the "Combo" with a meditation.
This 5-5 morning routine is like the two above but this routine uses an even count on the breathing section. Both inhale and exhale are through the nose at 5 counts each. This breath count is also in the therapeutic zone where the heart rate variability (HRV) is maximized and the rhythms of the heart, lungs and brain synchronize. This count is called the Coherent Breath, which slows the breathing down to 5 breath cycles per minute (you'll breathe in and out 5 times through the passing of one minute.) This is a good balancing breath to practice when you want mental calming but alert awareness. You can also practice this on your own without an audio to follow (in the car at stop lights, in line at the grocery store, at your desk at work). Use either a slow 5-5 count... or if you count more quickly, use a 6-6 count to approximate 5 breath cycles in one minute. 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week is suggested. Those 20 minutes can also be divided into two 10-minute sessions during the day.
If you have attended one of my classes, this is the breathing pattern we use to accompany the Zone Breathing tai chi movement we use (a moving meditation). If you have not attended one of my classes to learn the movement, you can just sit and follow the audio. Or you can practice being "mindful" by following the audio's instructions to breathe while walking in a circle, focusing on your breath and feet. Rhythmically walk around a sofa or chair in your living room and see how calming it can be. You have a 10-minute option as well as a 20-minute option.
Studies show that slowing down the breath for just 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week has a therapeutic effect on the body. Health benefits include regulating blood pressure, detoxing the body, helping with pain management, stimulating the lymphatic system (which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins.) It increases cardiovascular capacity, which makes exercising more productive and helps to regulate weight. (The extra oxygen in the body helps burn excess fat more efficiently). More oxygen increases energy, improves digestion, regulates blood pressure, improves sleep and strengthens the immune system. More energy is provided to the cells to aid in healing. Deep breathing exercises increase the lungs’ capacity and strengthens the major organs of the body (such as lungs and the heart). It also increases the neurochemicals in the brain which elevate mood and produce clearer thinking (less ‘brain-fog), and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. So, if you just want 20 minutes of seated breathing exercises, the following routines might be just what you are looking for. Sit up straight in a chair, feet flat on floor, and take full body breaths (down into the belly)
Choose whichever feels most comfortable. All are in the therapeutic zone (5 bpm, 5.5 bpm, and 4.5 bpm respectively). See which one you like best. 20 minutes a day is all you need...and you can divide it up into two 10-minute sessions if you can't find 20 minutes in one sitting.
Breathe in and out through the nose for this 5-5 exercise.
3-6 and 4-8 Exercises: Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, with lips pursed like you are whistling. Place the tongue in ‘yogi’ position (on the roof of the mouth, on the bony ridge behind the teeth). Make a silent whistling sound as you fully exhale by drawing the belly to the spine.