Reduce Stress Quickly With Karate Breathing Meditation

Woman Doing Yoga at Home

Zia Soleil / Stone / Getty Images

Meditation is a powerful stress reliever. Here is a simple and effective form of meditation that can be useful for beginners, and can be learned easily learned.

Whether you use it to prepare for physical battle or just a taxing day at the office, this quick exercise is a proven tool to help you feel relaxed, alert, and more ready for anything.

Step By Step

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. While most martial artists use the ‘seiza’ (“say zah”) position, with legs beneath the buttocks with knees directly in front, many people find this position to be uncomfortable. If this is the case, you may also sit cross-legged ('anza') or in another position that’s more comfortable for you.
  2. Close your eyes, but keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed, head up, and your eyes (behind your lids) focused ahead.
  3. Take a deep, cleansing breath, expanding your belly and keeping your shoulders relaxed. Hold it in for the count of six.
  4. Exhale, and repeat twice more. Then breathe normally and focus your attention on your breathing.
  5. As you breathe, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, still expanding your belly rather than moving your shoulders up and down.
  6. If your thoughts drift toward the stresses of the day ahead or of the day behind you, gently refocus on your breathing and remain in the present moment. Feel the air move in, and feel the air move out. That’s it.
  7. Continue this for as little or as long as you like, and you should notice that your body is more relaxed and your mind is more centered. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Additional Tips

  1. As you breathe, let your abdomen expand and contract, rather than moving your shoulders up and down. Deeper breathing is more natural (it's similar to how babies breathe) and gives you increased lung capacity. The shallow breathing adults typically use doesn’t allow for as much oxygenation of the blood.
  2. Don't breathe too quickly or too slowly—just breathe at a natural rate, but more deeply.
  3. If you find your thoughts drifting a lot at first, don't worry that you're doing it wrong. Noticing that you've drifted and refocusing to your breathing is part of the practice and something you're doing right!
  4. Try another meditation technique and find more resources for stress management and learn to better manage stress in your daily life.

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.