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Muscle-To-Mind Relaxation Skills (Circle Breath)
Taking slow, deep breaths can help performers/athletes/individuals be able to lessen muscle tension, racing heart rate, or stomach butterflies.
There are a number of breathing exercises, but the simplest and most basic one is a Complete Breath (AKA Circle Breath).
Basically, a deep breath from inhaling via nose, a slight pause, and then an exhale through the mouth.
When a Circle Breath is done right, a person looking will be able to see the shoulders stay relatively still, and stomach go in and out (similar to filling a balloon).
Usually, folks will lift and lower their shoulders as they breathe, which actually creates tension.
Here's how to have an individual do a correct circle breath. Have a client put one hand on his chest, and one hand on his stomach and see which one raises up and down.
When breathing is done correctly, the hand on the stomach should move, while the hand on the chest stays relatively still.
As the breath is inhaled, paused, and exhaled, adding counts can be helpful to make sure that the breath is slow, and complete.
Example: inhale for 4 seconds, holding for 1, and exhale out for 4.
*For another athlete/performer, that may not allow for a complete breath to be taken so customize accordingly.