If you are thinking about using a relaxation breathing technique, there are several options to consider. You may want to enroll in a yoga or tai chi class, both of which involve breathing exercises. You can also experiment with deep muscle response breathing, which uses breathing and tension to relax muscle groups. If visualization is something you enjoy, exercises using guided imagery, meditation, or music are available. Since breathing is something everyone does, you can even create your own technique by experimenting with this natural way of relaxing.
Breath work is important to most yoga exercises, so taking a yoga class may be a good way to begin. One advantage a yoga class provides is that you will have an instructor to guide you. There is also something to be said for being part of a group when you are learning something new. Another plus is that you may find that you develop a leaner body by practicing yoga.
If you are interested in exploring breathing techniques in a movement class that is less strenuous than yoga, you may want to try tai chi. Although it is martial arts based, tai chi uses gentle, low impact movements. Since tai chi is done while focusing on breathing and slow, concentrated movement, it is often considered an appropriate exercise for the elderly or for patients recovering from injury.
Guided imagery and meditation is another way to explore a relaxation breathing technique. There are CDs and DVDs that use spoken word meditation or sounds. If you enjoy visualization, this may be the right choice for you. Once you learn to use this tool, you can use it to escape modern day stresses almost anywhere.
Deep muscle response breathing alternates muscle tensing with breathing to promote relaxation. This relaxation breathing technique can be done in several different ways, and you can alter it to find one that works for you. It involves breathing into a muscle area as you inhale, tensing the muscle, and releasing the tension on the exhale. You can also do this without tensing your muscles, just breathe into a body part, pause, and allow the tension to drain away as you exhale.
Since you have to breathe anyway, adding a few slow, concentrated inhale/exhale patterns to your day may be a simple way to begin developing a relaxation breathing technique. Probably one of the most important aspects of such a technique is breathing into your diaphragm. You can make sure you are doing this by placing your hand over your abdomen. When you inhale you should feel it rise, and as you exhale, you will feel it collapse.