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Deep breathing

As simple as it seems, deep breathing is a great way to relax your body and concentrate energy, which is why it's an important part of spiritual, meditation, and martial-arts traditions around the world.

1 Sit comfortably, straight up, with a loose waist and your stomach relaxed. Sitting in a chair is fine; you don't have to sit cross-legged on the floor. Just check that your back is comfortably straight and your middle is loose and relaxed (don't worry about looking fat; no one is watching).

2 Let your whole self relax. You can work your way from bottom to top, as in the progressive-relaxation technique in the preceding section.

3 . Begin to inhale slowly through your nose. Count to 4 as you fill your lungs in four parts from bottom to top. Breathe in slowly, taking about 5 seconds for a full breath.

4 . Hold your breath for a couple of seconds.

5 . Quietly relax and let the air flow all the way out through your mouth.

6 . Wait a few seconds and inhale, hold, and release your breath slowly again. Breathe

in through your nose in four sections; let the air out completely through your mouth in a long, peaceful "Ahh" or "Ohm," the dial tone of the universe. If you get dizzy, you're going too fast. Slow down.

7 . Imagine that you're floating, and pretty soon you will be. Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes at a time.

Quiet Ears

This technique works like listening to a seashell at the beach. Because it stills the world around you, Quiet Ears helps you connect to your own inner strength. This technique works for everybody, but especially if you are easily distracted by outside sounds:

1. Close your eyes .

2 . Place your hands loosely on top of your head.

3 . Cup your hands and cover both your ears. You hear the slow, rushing sound of your own blood circulating. This is a good thing.

4 . Listen to this sound while you count to 10, ten times.

5 . Relax your arms, and repeat Steps 3 and 4. You may find yourself breathing peacefully.

If outside sounds are very distracting to you and Quiet Ears doesn't help you filter them out, wearing ear plugs when you study can also help.

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