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   BARE BONES BREATHING TECHNIQUES

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    These links will take you to short, basic instructions for the breathing techniques we describe at greater length in the Techniques section of this site. Where applicable, we provide a link to the more detailed description.

          You may find these brief written instructions are all you need. However, most people find it easier to be guided verbally.  Audios of guided instructions with Don's music in the background will be available in our Store.

Abdominal Breathing
Ocean Breathing
Spinal Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing
3-Part Breath w/ Breath Holding
Alternate Nostril w/ Breath Holding
Fast Belly Breathing
Breath Watching

* Abdominal Breathing *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Basic Instructions:

Inhale, letting your belly expand out like a balloon. As you exhale, let your belly deflate. 

This may sound simple enough, but actually many people find it hard to do initially.  So here’s what we suggest to help you learn to connect your breathing with the movement of your belly.  It involves holding your breath which will probably feel awkward – but it’s just for learning purposes:   

For Learning: 

  1. Place your hands on your belly and inhale.
  2. As you exhale, gently push down on your belly with your hands.
  3. Hold your breath for a second, and then inhale, feeling your belly push up against your hands.  
  4. Hold for a second, and then exhale, gently pushing down on the belly.
  5. Try the same sequence a few more times:   Inhale, feeling your belly push up against your hands – hold it – exhale, gently pushing down on your belly – hold it.  Inhale, feeling your belly push up against your hands – hold it– exhale, gently pushing down on your belly.
  6. Let your breath return to normal.
  7. Now do the same thing but without holding your breath:   Inhale as you feel your belly push up against your hands, and exhale while pushing down on your belly. 
  8. Do that several times.

           That’s it. Once you get the feel for it, as long as you’re not tensing your belly or holding
           it in, your belly will naturally inflate as you inhale, and deflate as you exhale.

* Ocean Breathing *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Basic Instructions:   

Slightly constrict your throat muscles and keep them constricted as you inhale and exhale. This should feel comfortable and easy.  If you’re uncomfortable, relax the constriction slightly.

For Learning:

  1. Keeping your mouth open, exhale making a loud whispered sound: hahhhhhh.
  2. Inhale making the same sound.
  3. Close your mouth, and make the same hahhhhhh sound as you inhale and exhale (it may sound like Darth Vader – or the sound of the ocean in a large seashell).

 * Spinal Breathing *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Basic Instructions:

  1. Use ocean breathing throughout.  (Click here for Ocean Breathing instructions.)
  2. Focus your attention at the base of your spine.
  3. As you inhale, imagine that you’re drawing the breath from the base of your spine up to the top of your head.
  4. As you exhale, imagine the breath is flowing effortlessly down from the top of your head back to the base of your spine. 

 * Alternate Nostril Breathing *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Quickie Guide:

  • Close R nostril – breathe in L nostril
  • Close L nostril, breathe out R nostril
  • Keep L nostril closed, breathe in R nostril
  • Close R nostril, breathe out L nostril
  • Repeat cycle

Basic Instructions:

  1. Keep your mouth closed throughout.
  2. Using your right thumb, close your right nostril, and breathe in through the left nostril for 4 counts.
  3. Using the fourth finger of your right hand, close your left nostril, and exhale out your right nostril for 8 counts. 
  4. Using the fourth finger of the right hand, keep your left nostril closed, and breathe in through your right nostril for 4 counts.
  5. Using the thumb of your right hand, close off your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril for 8 counts. 
  6. Continue alternating (in-left/hold/out right; in-right/hold/out-left) for 2 or 3 more cycles. 

* 3-Part Breath with Breath Holding *
(a variation of an exercise taught by Dr. Andrew Weil)

Basic Instructions:

  1. Keeping your mouth closed, breathe in for 4 counts. 
  2. Keep your mouth closed and hold your breath for 8 counts.
  3. Open your mouth and breathe out for 8 counts.  If you like, you can make the sound hahhh as you exhale.

* Alternate Nostril with Breath Holding *

Quickie Guide:

  • Close R nostril – breathe in L nostril
  • Hold breath
  • Close L nostril, breathe out R nostril
  • Keep L nostril closed, breathe in R nostril
  • Hold breath
  • Close R nostril, breathe out L nostril
  • Repeat cycle

Basic Instructions:

  1. Keep your mouth closed throughout.
  2. Using your right thumb, close your right nostril, and breathe in through the left nostril for 4 counts.
  3. Keeping the right nostril closed, hold your breath for 8 counts.
  4. Using the fourth finger of your right hand, close your left nostril, and exhale out your right nostril for 8 counts. 
  5. Using the fourth finger of the right hand, keep your left nostril closed, and breathe in through your right nostril for 4 counts.
  6. Keeping your left nostril closed, hold your breath for 8 counts.
  7. Using the thumb of your right hand, close off your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril for 8 counts. 
  8. Continue alternating (in-left/hold/out right; in-right/hold/out-left) for 2 or 3 more cycles. 

* Fast Belly Breathing *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Basic Instructions:

  1. Keep your mouth closed throughout.
  2. Inhale a long, slow breath.
  3. Exhale rapid, very short, quick breaths, 8 times.
  4. Inhale and exhale 1 long slow breath, then breathe normally 2 or 3 times. 
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 three times. 

  * Breath Watching *
For more detailed instructions click here.

Basic Instructions

  1. Let your breath flow naturally, without any attempt to control or change it in any way.
  2. Then either:
    Let your attention rest gently on the movement of your belly, being aware of the             sensations in your belly as it rises and falls with your breath,
                                                                            or
    Let your attention rest gently at the tip of your nose, feeling the sensations there as the air flows in and out. 
  3. Be gently aware of the sensations related to your breathing throughout your body.
  4. Don’t try to change how you breathe or your sensations in any way.  Simply be aware of them as they are. If they change on their own, that’s fine.

Links to All Bare Bones Techniques:

Breathing:
Abdominal Breathing
Ocean Breathing
Spinal Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing
3-Part Breath w/ Breath Holding
Alternate Nostril w/ Breath Holding
Fast Belly Breathing
Breath Watching

Relaxation:
Tense-Release for the Face
Tense-Release for the Whole Body
Body Scan
1-Minute Mindful Relaxation, Whole Body

Imagery:
Creative Visualization: Preview of Day
Creative Visualization: Review of Day
Light Imagery
Imagery for Relaxation
Ocean Imagery

Concentration:
Breath Counting
Breath Watching
Breathing with Words
Thought Counting
Thought Noting and Labeling
31 Points

Heart-Centering:
Basic Practice
Heart-Centering with Light Imagery

Mindfulness:
Wheel of Awareness Meditation
Beginner 1-Minute Mindfulness
Intermediate Mindfulness
Advanced Mindfulness
Space of Awareness

Mindful/Heartful CBT:
Basic CBT
Basic Mindful/Heartful CBT