Essential breathing technique Preliminaries
All groups participate in the same training regime on Day Two, so fundamental is this breathing technique to learning how to relax. Groups 1 and 2 usually learn this breathing technique best in a lying position, while Group 3 often finds that a sitting position is easier.
Before teaching the breathing technique, I first get novices to learn what a four-second breath feels like. It is a four-second breath in, and a four-second breath out. This must be practised a few times by the clock until memory makes it automatic. The timing is important because it is the basis of all subsequent breathing techniques.
Most people have confused ideas about deep breathing and equate it with chest expansion and effort. In fact, deep and rapid breathing is known to generate tension and may provide unpleasant panic attacks. The type of breathing necessary for the relaxation response is nothing like this. Already on Day One you will have started to get an idea of relaxation response breathing. But, as Day One concentrated mostly on muscle control, a very simple approximation of the ideal breathing technique was accepted as second best, and was certainly better than the normal type of shallow and irregular breathing that we use every day.
Breathing exercises as well as all the other exercises should not be carried out within two hours of a substantial meal.