Thanks Michaelle, that's a really good example of an effective breathing and breath testing exercise.
Here are some exercises that I use that are very effective for overall health and well being, helping to relax and calm body and mind, they can be done in a seated or standing position.
1) Take a deep breath in through the nose, hold the breath in the lower abdominal region for eight seconds, then breathe out fully through the mouth and hold the exhaled breath out for eight seconds. Repeat this cycle 8 times then allow the breath to return to it's normal pattern. Notice any difference in your feeling?
VASE OR BELLOWS BREATHING
2) Breathe into the lower abdomen through the nose. Hold the breath for three seconds, then take another short breath through the nose and hold for five more seconds, before releasing through the mouth.
Repeat the cycle three times. Notice any difference in your feeling?
These exercises can be used before a period of meditation to help relax the whole body and mind or at any time when there is a need to drop into a deeper space of relaxation.