If you are finding it hard to sort out your breathing and struggle to find a natural, relaxed rythym, this lesson can be very useful. It is not a perscription to "proper" breathing, but rather a way to interfer with bad habits, and reestablish an easier, calmer breath.
Step1: count the length of your exhale and the length of your inhale. you can count by taping with your finger, or using a meteronome or ticking clock.
Step 2: Pick the lower number. For example if you inhaled for 4 beats and exhaled for 5 beats, you would start with "4"
Step 3: The 4 phase breath goes like this: inhale for 4 beats, hold your breath for 4 beats, exhale for 4 beats, hold your breath for 4 beats. Do this for about 4 or 5 cycles. Then return to your resting breath.
Step 4: Pick the higher number next and repeat the 4 phase breath for 4 to 5 cycles. Then return to your resting breath
Step 5: Notice any changes in your resting breath and check to see if your "numbers" have changed. You will likely notice that the breath is smoother, the exhale more satisfying and restful.
We often develop habits in our breathing pattern where the initiation of the inhale or exhale is forced or inhibited. You may discover parts of the 4 phases are easy and some are not as easy. By repeating the cycle a couple of times you may discover the difficult parts becoming easier!