As a freediver who battles with anxiety, I am constantly inventing and testing-out new methods for mental training, especially for relaxation, because the more relaxed you are, the longer you can hold your breath!
In this podcast episode, I’ll talk about a relaxation breathing and mental training technique that can help massively to lower anxiety and train the mind to be more relaxed in stressful situations and just in life in general. It’s a technique I use for freediving but anyone can benefit from it, whether you’re an athlete, in the military, or if you’re a performer, an actor or musician, if you’re someone with a stressful job or if you’re preparing for a business meeting. Either way it works the same, it builds something in your mind, that you can use in stressful situations to become more relaxed. And you can train this right at home just laying down on a yoga mat.
And I can personally confirm that this mental training exercise, with the combination of short breath-holds, complete relaxation and concentration / mindfulness generates a sensation of euphoria and rapture, which creates mental clarity that may rest in the body for hours or even days after a session!
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Please enjoy this transcript of this podcast episode. (Transcript is auto-generated and therefore not 100% exact)
So today what I’d like to talk about is a mental training technique you can add to the relaxation breathing technique that we went over in the last episode.
By adding this mental training element to the relaxation exercise, and getting your mind in the right place, and focusing on particular points in the body, it can really take your relaxation to a whole nother level!
Now I said in the last episode that there’s an in-water freediving exercise that goes along with the relaxation breathing technique, but since so many people don’t have access to open water right now and also many people listening aren’t freedivers, I modified the in-water exercise to be a dry relaxation exercise instead. This way anyone can do it, and you don’t even have to leave home!
So what I’ll do first, is just go over why this breathing and relaxation technique is so beneficial, and how it works…and then I’ll briefly review the breathing technique we went over in the last episode just to refresh your memory, and then I’ll the explain the new mental technique that you can add to it, with short breath-holds.
But first the intro!!
Hello and welcome to episode 8 of The Power of the Breath & Epic Wellness Podcast, formerly the Freediving Podcast.
This is your source for information about the training secrets from freediving, not only to help you breathe better, perform better and reduce stress & anxiety, but also so you can live the most healthy and EPIC life possible!
I am your host, Renee Blundon, I’m a competitive freediver and a freediver instructor trainer living in Dahab, Egypt. And as always I will offer information about: powerful breathing techniques, proven meditation techniques, exercises for vibrant health & well-being and more.
This podcast represents the efforts of my own personal research, and things I’ve learned from competitive freediving and from trying to improve my own health, fitness and lifestyle as well as the combined efforts of a public open source information network which I invite you to join on Facebook at:
All are welcome!
So first, why are we doing this?
Well this is a powerful breathing and relaxation technique I want to share with you which is helps lower stress and anxiety massively, so that you can focus better, relax under pressure and therefore perform more optimally.
This is a technique that I’ve used to train for freediving and improve my relaxation for my dives and it works great whether you’re a freediver, an athlete, in the military, or if you’re a performer, an actor or musician, if you’re someone with a stressful job or if you’re preparing for a business meeting! Either way it works the same. It builds something in your mind, that you can use in stressful situations to become more relaxed.
Maybe you didn’t sleep well and you need to then go to work in a stressful environment, or you’re an athlete you didn’t sleep well yet you need to train or compete,
maybe that day you have a big work event, or stressful meeting or a sports performance and so just because of that you have more anxiety,
maybe you’re sick and you still have to perform athletically or go to work, maybe people around you are stressing you out, or you’re stressed about other things like finances, or relationships
Whatever the case may be, this exercise basically gives you somewhere for your mind to go, in order to help you fully relax no matter what’s going on around you.
If you get stressed during your day whatever it is that you’re doing, it means:
So obviously not good, you lose your day, you feel horrible mentally, physically and your health is significantly affected, especially over the long run
And if you have to perform like if you’re an athlete or a musician, or a business person and you have to lead a meeting, because you’re stressed it means MUCH more likely you’ll make a mistake, you’ll mess something up, or you’ll forget something, and and then there goes that, and sometimes there’s no going back
And if you keep living this way with stressful day after stressful day, eventually…
By staying in this high state of stress, all the big things that you’re up to in your life, just becomes much more difficult and more about how much stress you can handle, and how much you can resist, it’s basically resistance against your life and your body and it’s not healthy at all.
But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way…
You can get through your day and your stressful moments and athletic performances in total comfort, focus and relaxation and then this will improve everything else.
Your heart rate will be lower, and you will have less stress, less adrenaline, all things which destroy everything for relaxation and health…
Because your heart rate is lower and you’re breathing much healthier you’ll have more oxygen in the brain and in the body so you’ll feel more energized, and so you can think a lot better, be more motivated and focused
And overall your central nervous system will be more relaxed, so you’ll sleep better, live better, and if you’re an athlete you’ll recover from athletic training better and faster.
So what we’re going to do, is train your mental and physical relaxation with breathing and breath-holding.
And in the exercise we’re going to relaxation breathing for a few minutes then short breath-holds while trying to increase the relaxation to the maximum,
This will enable you to hold your breath for 1, 2, 3 minutes in FULL RELAXATION, and then this relaxation permeates into your daily life and your stressful events, if you’re a freediver it will help you be more relaxed on your dives, all in all making you much more relaxed and joyfull.
So this technique extends the relaxation experience during breath-holding, which in turn trains the mind and body to overall be more relaxed in stressful situations and lifestyles.
So now I’ll just do a little recap about the relaxation breathing technique that I went over in the last episode, episode number 7.
And so first you want to inhale, then hold the breath for a few seconds, then passive exhale, then full exhale, hold at the bottom, then passive inhale, then full inhale, hold at the top, passive exhale, cont.
So if you haven’t practiced this breathing technique, I’d recommend doing that for a bit and then, when it becomes more relaxing like a habit you don’t have to think about, then you can add this next element, which is what I’ll go over right now.
And if you want you can even go back and listening to the last episode which goes into all the details about that breathing and relaxation technique and also has a guided session.
So now, we add the mental relaxation training and some short breath-holds.
So first you just want to lay down on a yoga mat or in your bed, wherever is most comfortable. You definitely don’t want to do this particular exercise while driving or operating heavy equipment or anything like that. If you are driving at the moment, you can listen to this and do the breathing part of the exercise and then later do it with the breath-holding when you’re at home.
So you’ll be laying down and then you can do 2-4 minutes of the relaxation breathing that we just reviewed. [Review]
Then after a few minutes of that you hold the breath, you can hold the breath any length of time which is comfortable, it can be 30 seconds, 1 minute or longer. Just whatever is comfortable.
Now as you’re holding the breath, first you want to just focus on relaxing the whole body overall, and really searching for the relaxation, think of it as a meditation in the here and now and try to relax as deeply as possible
Then while you’re still holding your breath, you check your jaw, making sure your jaw is completely relaxed. You can open and close the jaw slightly (keeping the lips together) just to make sure the jaw is relaxed and you’re not clenching your teeth.
Then you check your perineum, which are the muscles that are tensed when you have to urinate. Make sure to relax all of those muscles.
In theory if your jaw is relaxed as well as your perineum (basically the entry and exit of the body) then everything in-between will be relaxed too, and then the whole body will be relaxed.
Then put your attention on your belly and make sure the belly is relaxed, that the abdominals are relaxed, if it’s sucked in then the perineum will be also contracted. Always make sure your perineum is relaxed and really try to focus on this area. If all of a sudden you feel like you have to urinate, that’s a good sign, it means you’re getting more relaxed and you can go to the bathroom after that breath-hold
And keep checking the jaw and the perineum and search the relaxation deep inside of yourself.
And then the moment you get the first discomfort, like an urge to breath, a contraction, a negative thought, you start breathing again.
Then take a few minutes, recover completely and do it again, doing a few minutes of the relaxation breathing and then holding the breath, trying to improve and relax more. Trying to search the relaxation deeper inside of yourself.
Try to forget about the time, the breath-hold time and any goals, try to think more in the here and now
Focus on what you can do now, that’s more important, and focus on relaxing the mind and relaxing all the different parts of the body.
So the whole session is just breath-holds, anywhere from 2-8 breath-holds, where every breath-hold you’re searching to increase the relaxation more and more.
Try to keep maximum comfort and maximum relaxation during your breath-holds and breathe the moment you have the first bad thought or bad sensation.
It might be after 30 seconds, it might be 1 minute or 2 minutes. Keep in mind that everyday it will be slightly different, on some days the relaxation will be really good and on other days not so good, that’s ok! That’s just life.
And you can do this exercise 2-4x per week for 4 weeks to really help improve your relaxation as well as your sensations while breath-holding.
For the first week, I’d recommend not using a timer to time the breath-holds, this way you’re not getting caught up in the times and such.
Because it’s not about the times, it’s about increasing your relaxation, and increasing your comfort zone of your breath-hold. so your breath-hold time will become longer over time, and meanwhile you’re building-up your knowledge of your mind, body and relaxation.
Your mind basically just needs to learn to relax, not become better, but become more relaxed and this just takes time to learn and to train,
Note if you’re doing a yoga practice or breath-work you can do 1-2 relaxation breath-holds like I just went over just at the end of your yoga session.
Or you can even do a few of them before your yoga practice and then a few after, and really notice the difference in how you feel in the relaxation of your arms, your legs, your neck and back and so forth. Notice How they feel before and after your yoga practice. The relaxation will always vary day-to-day, and moment to moment.
So like I said practice this exercise 2-4 times per week if you can, 10-15 minutes per day and you’ll find yourself more relaxed in stressful situations, you’ll have less anxiety and the ability to focus and perform much better.
So that’s a relaxation breathing and mental training technique for you guys to try. I hope it’s helpful. I’ve been doing this breathing technique before my deep freedives to de-stress and help relax and lower my anxiety, and quite honestly I don’t know what I’d do without it!
I’m still playing around with it, as far as the speed of my inhales, exhales, the breath-holds at the top and bottom of the breathing, the mental, playing around with different areas of focus during the breath-hold, but now at least you know the main exercise which you can practice and personalize it for you to be able to achieve maximum relaxation.
Ok so that’s it for now I’ll end this recording here, if this is your first time listening, please subscribe to the podcast and feel free to check-out the podcast on the website with all the show notes, blog and other resources. You can find it at www.reneeblundon.com/podcast.
And don’t forget to join the Facebook group if you haven’t already! You can find it at facebook.com/groups/powerofthebreath. You can post your feedback and questions about the relaxation breathing technique. I’d love to know how you made out!
Also I’m doing LIVE weekly breathing and meditation sessions on there, so definitely join so you can join the sessions!
So thank you all for listening, hope you have a great day!