Now I do this sometimes before I sleep to unwind the day. Simply, to release.
1. Sit comfortably cross-legged with an erect spine. You can improve this position by sitting on the edge of a thick blanket to elevate your hip. You may place your hands, palms face up on your laps.
2. Close your eyes and breathe normally through your nose.
3. Now, notice your breath. Count as you inhale for example: Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4 and exhale 1, 2, 3, 4. The number of counts varies depending on the person.
4. Try to balance the breath for inhalation and exhalation, meaning same number of counts for inhalation and exhalation for example, 4 counts inhale, 4 counts exhale or 5 counts inhale or 5 counts exhale.
5. After a few rounds of balanced breathing, now prolong the exhalation. For example, inhale 1, 2, 3, 4 and then exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Again, the number of counts varies.
6. Do prolonged exhalation for at least 5 rounds. With each exhalation, release whatever that is stressful to you i.e. argument, pain, anxiety.
Why prolonged exhalation you might ask?
Have you ever noticed one’s breathing when one is angry, or panicking? That’s right, very short and quick exhalation. Often times, we inhale deeply but simply not focused enough in releasing the air inside us. This breathing technique helps release the residual air and it calms the nerves down. Practice this daily if possible, it takes less than 5 minutes and you can slowly increase the time bit by bit. This can be done with your child and even more so for yourself!
I find it powerful that parent and child sit back to back with their straight spines touching, interlocking the arms together and just do this type of breathing while the parent counts out loud for the both of them. Just notice how in sync you both are after a while, appreciate the backbones in touch with each other and the breath that’s going inside both of you.
And remember, be kind to self.
P/S: This type of breathing is also helpful when one is faced with a tough, anxious situation and you are aware that your breaths have quickened. Say, a boss is shouting down your neck, do try to prolong your exhalation.