Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. practices acupuncture in Reston, Virginia, Bethesda, Maryland and in Washington D.C.
Deep slow breathing: Back straight and relaxed. One hand inside the other (right over left), palms facing up and thumbs touching. Long, slow and deep inhalation expanding first the lower abdomen and then the chest, allowing the maximum amount of air into the lungs without forcing. The breath should be one slow and continuous inhalation and exhalation. On exhalation the lungs are emptied thoroughly from the top down.
(a) Gradually increase the ratio of inhalation to exhalation so that the exhalation takes longer. If, for example, you inhale to a six count, then the exhalation would be a twelve count, or 1 to 2. Over time the length of each can be increased to a ten to twenty ratio.
(b) The technique is the same as in (a), but now the breath is retained between inhalation and exhalation. Start with short cycles and gradually increase them, for example, 5:5:10 (five counts on inhalation, five on retention and ten on exhalation). Later, as you progress, move to 10:10:20, 10:15:20 and 10:40:20. Be aware of joy, peace and love entering with the breath and feel limiting emotions and thoughts being expelled with exhalations.