Lengthening The Exhale
Today, let’s focus again on the out-breath.
We are going to practice letting out long slow exhales. This has a naturally calming effect on your nervous system. And it’s a great way to get control of yourself when you have become upset or short of breath.
And, a long exhale, squeezing out all the breath, automatically triggers a nice full effortless inhale.
Make a hushing sound on the exhale: the sound you make when you want someone to be quiet in church. Ssshhhh…. And stretch out the sound for as long as possible…
One good way of extending the exhale is to use vocal toning… for example sounding out a long loud “aaaaahhhhh…”
Another method is to exhale through pursed lips, like you are blowing out a candle or cooling off a spoonful of hot soup… or you can make any wind sound that feels good.
You can chant your favorite prayer or mantra, or repeat any word or phrase or affirmation.
The point is to gradually extend or lengthen your exhale to 10 seconds… 15 seconds… 20 seconds… 30 seconds… 45 seconds… and longer.
A simple technique is to simply count out loud from 1 to 10, over and over again until you run out of breath. Don’t slur the words or take shortcuts. Pronounce each number clearly.
A count of 200 is a good goal if you are interested in Breath Mastery! With daily practice you can achieve this in a couple of weeks, and the benefits are incredible!
Do it now. Pick any method of extending or lengthening the exhale, and practice it for ten minutes. And practice it from time to time throughout the day.
You can do this exercise anytime…
Make a game of it. For example, exhale for ten or more footsteps while walking.
Exhale steadily while walking from one part of your house to another… Or when walking up or down a flight of stairs… Or exhale for the time it takes to walk from your office to the elevator…
Practice long slow exhales in your car, while driving to work. Swimmers can exhale for a certain number of strokes, gradually adding more strokes between breaths. I just exhaled for the time it took to type this paragraph. (about 50 seconds!)