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BREATHING EXERCISE - SLOW DOWN - COHERENT BREATHING by The Yogi Psychologist – Julie de Rooij (MSc)

Bijgewerkt op: 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

breathing pattern.


-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”.


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

your head.

• 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.


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.

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