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Deep breathing has many benefits; promotes recovery after exercise, aids digestion, energizes and reduces stress. However, deep breathing can be surprisingly difficult for some people. People who do not do regular breathing or meditation practices and are not used to this kind of conscious breathing may have difficulty in this regard.

Another reason why slow and deep breathing is difficult: Stress.

When we are stressed or anxious, we upregulate the nervous system, which triggers our shallow and short breathing. And given that life is full of stressors, breaking the habit of shallow breathing can be difficult. There is good news for shallow breathing though! You can continue to reap the benefits of deep breathing with the help of an easy mindset change: focus on “soft” breathing techniques instead.

The meaning of soft breathing

Soft breathing means focusing on how breathing feels in your body, without forcing or controlling your focus to try to achieve the perfect fullness and rhythm.

As the breath softens, the body softens and the two work together to downregulate our nervous system so that we feel calmer and more peaceful. Soft breathing also allows you to notice and release any tension in your body. Once your mind and body are relaxed, it allows for slower and deeper breathing.

When you try to count four to five breaths, you may become anxious and feel like you are struggling or holding your breath. In other words, focusing on gentle breathing takes the pressure off of trying to get it “right”.

We can compare this to swimming in terms of distance and speed. If you are stressed, you may be wasting your energy with bad form. When you slow down and feel your body moving in the water, you will instinctively make changes to swim smoothly, which will ultimately travel more distance in less time.

How to practice soft breathing?

We recommend getting into a comfortable sitting position or lying on your back and closing your eyes to practice soft breathing. Imagine relaxation just like water running down the top of your head, softening your eyes, chin, shoulders, and stomach. You can also place your hands on your stomach and imagine slowly inflating a balloon as you breathe in.

Let’s say that the key point is to focus on breathing gently; so don’t push yourself to get the perfect slow pace or fullness. Just observe the flow of your breath; Feel the air flowing into your nose, stomach and chest and notice how soft yet full your breath is as you exercise. It’s also important to release any tension in your body while doing this. A tense body makes it difficult to breathe smoothly. Thus, by becoming aware of and relaxing the tension in your body, you make it possible to soften the breath. Also, while breathing softly, you may notice moments when you feel very relaxed and your breathing may stop. This may be for a second or a few seconds, but the experience will be different than when you hold your breath. You will feel effortless and peaceful.

When you practice soft breathing and feel that you have learned the technique; We suggest you take this one step further and calculate how long it will take you to take three breaths as smoothly as possible. With practice, you’ll be amazed at how long and deep your breath naturally becomes by focusing on softness.

What’s the best part? You can use this gentle breathing technique anytime, anywhere. We recommend doing this whenever you feel anxious, reactive or excited and want to calm down and put yourself in the centre. It’s a great time to practice gentle breathing, especially when you’re tiring from the day or feeling restless in bed.

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