The long exhale

Day 36 of #LiveWell2017


Folk singer Todd Snider has a great song about tension:

Tension it’s all that I know
I got tension out in traffic
I got tension in my office
I got tension and it’s everywhere that I go

Sound familiar? Tension is all around us and inside of us. We worry. We rush. We get angry. The world is chaotic. It’s just too much.

Tension keeps us from being our best selves. It gives us headaches and stomach aches. It blocks our creativity. It reduces our productivity. It damages our relationships.

The opposite of tension is relaxation. And relaxation is all about letting go – on physical, mental and emotional levels. Easier said than done, right? Not so. There is a very simple way to relax completely. Exhale.

It’s simple, right? We do it thousands of times a day. It’s automatic, involuntary. Our muscles actually let go of tension during our automatic exhale. But to truly relax we need to practice prolonged exhalation – the long exhale. It’s a technique therapists teach to people who experience anxiety. It’s a common practice in yoga.

There’s a simple explanation of how to do it over at Anxiety Slayer’s blog. Basically, you inhale for two or three counts, hold for one or two counts, then exhale for four to six counts. Extend the exhale to twice the length of the inhale. You can also exhale slowly until you are pushing the remainder of the breath from your lungs by contracting your stomach muscles.

Doing this extended exhale is an easy and effective way to relax, let go, and release tension. If you want more advances techniques, check out the Gaia blog on yoga breathing.

Exhale. Relax. #LiveWell.






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