Learning to take complete, deep breaths is a key ingredient to relaxation. Please set aside enough time to practice breathing regularly. Ideally, incorporate it into your practice and pre-performance routine.
Proper breathing comes from the diaphragm. Place your hands on your belly and your chest to feel the location of your breath.
Think about the lungs being divided into in three levels or parts.
Start filling the lowest section first, by pushing the abdomen out (and the diaphragm down).
Then fill the middle section of your lungs with air by expanding the chest cavity.
Finally, fill the upper portion of the lungs with air by raising the chest and shoulders slightly. This should be a continuous and smooth process.
Now exhale lowering your shoulders and chest and let the abdomen pull in.
At the end of the exhalation release all the muscle tension in your chest shoulder and abdomen
each breath should lead to further release of any tension in your body
Take at least 30 to 40 breaths a day to practice this technique. You can incorporate this breathing exercise into your everyday life: while driving, while watching TV or every time the phone rings. Once you are comfortable with diaphragm breathing go on to the centering exercise.
If you are interested in learning more about breathing and relaxation techniques, please contact me.