Watching a screen carefully for a few minutes, the researcher notices that the level of sympathetic nervous system - the one which stimulates our flight-or-flight response and elevates stress – remains high. That is not what would be expected from an experienced meditator. So, he instructed the man to lengthen his exhalation so it would be twice as long as his inhalation.
A postive effect emerges immediately: his heart rate begins to decrease on exhalation and increase during inhalation indicating a lowering level of the sympathetic nervous system. Continuing that breath pattern, the man settles into deeper relaxation, one that creates ideal conditions for meditation.
It’s called 2:1 breathing and it prompts the vagus nerve (running from the neck down through the diaphragm) sends a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system and turn down your sympathetic nervous system. It’s ideal not only for meditation but to simply lower fear and stress. Here’s how to do 2:1 breathing.
1. Be seated comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Keep your back straight but not rigid.
2. As your breath normally count the duration of your inhales and exhales. Most people find their count for normal inhales and exhales is 3 or 4.
3. Proceed to make your exhalation twice as long as your inhalation.
4. Once you’ve established this pattern you can stop counting but be certain the exhale is approximately twice as long as the inhalation.
5. Do this for five minutes, gradually extending it to ten.
Benefits: lowers stress, reduces fear and anxiety; promotes relaxation.
(feel free to re-post and/or share on your social media.)