BREATHING EXERCISE - SLOW DOWN - COHERENT BREATHING by The Yogi Psychologist – Julie de Rooij (MSc)
Bijgewerkt: 25 jun 2020
Content provided by: The.Yogi.Psychologist – Julie de Rooij (MSc) – Mental Health Psychologist & Yoga teacher
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you
are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Breathing exercises can
help you to relax, because when you bring your body in a relaxed state, your
emotions, thoughts and feelings follow.
Coherent breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. We can see
our inhalation as activating and the exhalation as relaxing. In a stressful situation we
have the tendency to inhale more, because our system wants to make sure we have
enough energy. And as you might know, there are stressful situations every single
day. From being stuck in traffic, having an argument with your co-worker, to telling
yourself all the things that are still on your to do list and so on. And most of these
triggers of stress, we’re not even processing consciously, but do affect the way we
breathe. So you might not be surprised that nowadays, the status quo of our
breathing pattern is irregular. So this exercise will help you to guide yourself in to a
state of inner-balance and harmony, by practicing a more regular and coherent
-Why it works?
-Guidelines & how to do it
-10 minute recording: guided coherent breathing exercise
So come with me and let’s breathe us back to a more relaxed, calm, centered,
energized and uplifted state.
Helps with the following:
• reducing anxiety
• enhance sleep pattern
• manage cravings
• controlling or reducing anger responses
• promotes abdominal breathing
• changing unhealthy breathing habits, which are connected to an unpleasant
state of mind.
• breathing with awareness allows the brain to focus on the body instead of
thoughts and emotions
• enhanced focus and concentration
• stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and deactivate the sympathetic
• energizing and uplifting mood
• strengthen immune system
• secretion of endorphins by the pituitary gland; “ the feel-good hormone”.
WHY IT WORKS?
Your vagus nerve runs from your brain down through to the opening of your
diaphragm to the gut, along the spine. 80 % of these fibers go from the body to the
brain and 20 % of these signals communicate from the brain to the body. This implies
that how are body is functioning has a bigger impact on our brain than we might
think! The breath is an automatic function that we can also direct with consciously.
So this is our way in to enter our autonomic nervous system that communicates how
we are doing and feeling. If we make our breath more coherent, evening out our
inhalation and exhalation, we feel more balanced. By doing so we also harmonize
our autonomic system, which will have positive effects on our heart rate, digestive
system, blood pressure, muscle tension, immune system, hormones secretion, who
all contribute the emotions we experience.
• Keep your hand on your stomach to make sure that you are breathing deeply
from your diaphragm and avoid breathing shallow from your chest. If you
can’t breath via the belly, that’s okay, don’t force or stress. Just come back
to your normal breathing pattern.
• You might feel as though you need to take a deep breath or that you can't stop
your thoughts from wandering. That's okay! Just bring yourself back to
focusing on your breathing and counting the length of your breaths in
• If you find that you feel comfortable taking even longer breaths, feel free.
Breaths as long as 10 seconds may feel right for some people. It's also okay
to have a longer exhale than inhale.
• Once you're able to do this for five minutes, gradually work your way up to
20 minutes. You can practice anywhere! In bed at night, while waiting at the
doctor's office, or even when driving.
• Don't try to force the breath or try to take in more air. This will happen
naturally as you lengthen your breaths and get used to how it feels.
HOW TO DO IT
1. Focus on your natural breath. To obtain a baseline, count the length of each
inhale and exhale. Follow the breath, try not to force the breath, you follow the
body to check in. Do this for +/- three minutes.
2. Find a comfortable position to practice coherent breathing and place one hand
on your belly.
3. Breath in for four seconds and then out for four seconds. Do this for one
4. Repeat, but extend your inhales and exhales to five seconds. Practice for one
5. Repeat again, extending further to six seconds. Practice for one minute or
Coherent breathing is a simple technique that can have a large impact. Try this
technique daily for 5 minutes for a month, to see if it supports dealing with stress,
anxiety, low mood or other problems. If after practicing coherent breathing you still
find that your symptoms are severe, it might be helpful to consult with a doctor or
mental health professional to discuss your options.