What and how - Coherent Breathing

Coherent Breathing - 6 seconds inhale and exhale with the chimes

Either as part of yoga or meditation, coherent breathing is an easy and effective way to calm down when you're feeling stressed or anxious.

February 2020 I was at the Yoga Therapy Ireland 20 year celebrations. Heather Mason, founder of The Minded Institute gave a great talk and movement session using the coherent breathing technique. I was hooked! Easy to do and share. It is even being used as part of the yoga therapy protocol in the NHS in the UK.

Long, slow breaths taken at a rate of five per minute constitute coherent breathing. By affecting the autonomic nervous system, coherent breathing or deep breathing helps to calm the body. Stress reduction, increased alertness, and a stronger immune system have all been linked to the practise of controlled breathing, such as what you'll see in the links I have attached below for your practice.

Here are the steps to follow if you want to learn how to practise coherent breathing:

Breathe in and out naturally.

- To establish a baseline, count the length of each inhalation and exhalation.
- Practice coherent breathing in a comfortable position. One hand could be placed on your abdomen.
- Four-second breaths in and four-second breath out. Do this for a minute and see if it helps.
- Extend your inhales and exhales to five seconds each time you do this exercise.
- Repeat for a total of six additional seconds.

To ensure that you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm rather than shallowly from your chest, place your hand on your stomach while performing this exercise.

You may feel as if you need to take a deep breath or that your thoughts are constantly whirling around and around in your head. That's fine! Return to counting the length of each inhalation and exhalation in your mind and your breathing will return to normal.

Feel free to take even deeper breaths if that is more comfortable for you. Ten-second inhalations may be appropriate for some people. It's fine to exhale more slowly than you inhale.

Aim for five minutes at the beginning, you could be able to do this for at least 20 minutes. There is no limit to where you can practise! When you're lying in bed at night, while you're waiting to see a doctor, or even while you're driving.

Important - 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.

The you-tube link I use most often is https://youtu.be/VZEtN8D2Nvc

Without birds...https://youtu.be/E2qCSu75cOk

There are many and it may be a case of finding what works for you.

Think 365 for your daily breath practice:

3 times a day

6 second breath

5 minutes each time

Further reading and info:

This is a great article from the New York Times on Controlled Breathing HERE

Stephen Eliot is doing amazing work with Coherent Breathing - check it out HERE

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to work on a one to one basis for some breath coaching (in person or on-line).

Contact Brenda on 085 1502378 or anandacentre@gmail.com