Stair Step Breath
is mildly energizing breath that is safe for most people. The activity in the practice gives the busy mind something to do, so it is appropriate for both anxiety and depression.
In a sitting or supine position, inhale in little sips or steps of breath from the bottom to the top of the lungs, as thought climbing a mountain (usually 6-10).
Hold for four counts (the top of the mountain)
Exhale slowly for six counts.
Practice steps 1-3 two times.
Next take a smooth six-count breath in.
Hold for four counts.
Then exhale through the nostrils in little puffs, as thought stepping down a mountain (usually 8 to 10).
Practice steps 5-7 two times.
Next inhale in little sips until the lungs are filled as described above, hold for four counts, and then exhale in little puffs as described above. Practice this version of stepped breathing in and out two times.
End by inhaling in little sips, holding for four, and exhaling for sic counts or longer. Practice this breathing patter two times.
Do no practice if you have had recent abdominal or chest surgery. Practice only on the inhalation if you are pregnant.
(~Yoga Skills for Therapists, Amy Weintraub, pg. 78-79)