The Four-Fold Breath

  1. Find a comfortable position laying on your back, knees slightly bent.
  2. Place a hand on your chest, and your other hand on your abdomen.
  3. Breath a few moments, allowing only your chest to rise and fall. The hand on your abdomen should remain as still as possible. This is the shallow breathing you’ve spent much of your waking life doing already.
  4. Breath a few moments, allowing only your abdomen to rise and fall. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible. This is diaphragmatic breathing, sometimes also known as belly breathing.
  5. Breathe a few moments, both with your chest and abdomen.
  6. Continue breathing, now counting to four on inhalation, holding your breath in a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, holding your breath out for a count of four, and repeating with the inhalation.
  7. Remove your hands to a comfortable position, generally with the palms upward.
  8. Focus your mind, as much as possible, on the breaths and the counting.

Do this exercise for no less than five minutes each day without interruption.
Good times would be upon waking, before bed, and before anything which may prove to be stressful.
If you begin to feel out of breath or dizzy, you were going too slowly or too quickly.
Consider learning how to find your own radial pulse and following the rhythm of your own heartbeat.

When you feel you’re competent with this method for a few days, do it while sitting instead.
When you feel you’re competent with this method for a few days, do it while standing instead.
When you feel you’re competent with this method for a few days, do it while walking instead.
When you feel you’re competent with this method for a few days, do it while in the presence of others, without them noticing.

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_breathing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaphragmatic_breathing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pranayama
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ujjayi_breath
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anapanasati
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Understanding_COPD/hic_Pulmonary_Rehabilitation_Is_it_for_You/hic_Diaphragmatic_Breathing