Whether we like it or not, says Jonathan Berkowitz, everyone in the world is susceptible to stress. And, Jonathan Berkowitz points out, stress takes a very real toll on physical and mental health. Jonathan Berkowitz draws from the eastern tradition of Yoga to help his clients find relief from stress.
There is a practice in yoga, explains Jonathan Berkowitz, called pranayama. Jonathan Berkowitz says that pranayama is an age-old Sanskrit term meaning, “the lengthening of the breath” or “extension of the life force.” The great yogi masters, says Jonathan Berkowitz, understood the crucial connection between a good life and good breathing. Jonathan Berkowitz explains that pranayama is a disciplined from of abdominal breathing, also called belly breathing.
Well-practiced abdominal breathing, says Jonathan Berkowitz, is useful for many reasons. Licensed clinical social workers like Jonathan Berkowitz often suggest abdominal breathing exercises as a form of stress reduction and relaxation. In addition to being an exercise, says Jonathan Berkowitz, deep breathing is also meditative and helps enhance concentration and posture. It is no wonder, says Jonathan Berkowitz, that many western therapists and counselors regard pranayama so highly.
The basics of deep breathing, says Jonathan Berkowitz, can be remembered by the simple phrase “abdomen, chest – chest, abdomen.” Inhale deeply and slowly, says Jonathan Berkowitz, in your abdomen first until it is expanded. Then continue the same inhalation, says Jonathan Berkowitz, now expanding your chest. Exhale at the same steady pace, says Jonathan Berkowitz, first from your chest, finishing with your abdomen.
A great way to prepare for stressful times, says Jonathan Berkowitz, is to practice abdominal breathing before stress arrives. When you feel you are becoming stressed, advises Jonathan Berkowitz, take stock of your breathing pattern by putting one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. If only the hand on your chest is rising and falling with your breaths, notes Jonathan Berkowitz, then you are not breathing with your abdomen.
To practice abdominal breathing, Jonathan Berkowitz suggests beginning by relaxing the stomach. While breathing in deeply, says Jonathan Berkowitz, let the stomach expand with the breath. When the belly has expanded with the breath, continues Jonathan Berkowitz, continue the inhalation as it expands the chest. After inhaling a full breath, says Jonathan Berkowitz, exhale gradually in reverse order. Let the chest fall first as the air leaves the body, explains Jonathan Berkowitz, followed by the belly. Repeat these soothing breaths, says Jonathan Berkowitz, to ease tension and alleviate worry. Abdominal breathing like this can be practiced at any time, says Jonathan Berkowitz, even while driving.
About Jonathan Berkowitz
Jonathan Berkowitz received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Queens College in Flushing, New York in 1994. Following studies at the Long Island University, Jonathan Berkowitz became a certified school social worker and school Psychologist in 1997. Jonathan Berkowitz earned a Masters of Clinical Social Work from New York University in 1999, and later was recognized as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In 2000, Jonathan Berkowitz was issued a Post Masters certificate in Early Childhood and Adolescence Psychotherapy. Jonathan Berkowitz obtained Post Masters certification in Gestalt Therapy from the Gestalt Association of Psychotherapy in New York City in 2002.
It was while Jonathan Berkowitz was studying at Queens College that he served in the Brooklyn Public Schools as a special Education Instructor from 1993-1994. Jonathan Berkowitz also served as a school Psychologist and Social Worker in Brooklyn with the Board of Education. Additionally, Jonathan Berkowitz did an internship in social work at Maimonides Psychiatric Outpatient in Brooklyn.
During 1999 and 2000 Jonathan Berkowitz worked as an outpatient social worker, MSW, CSW at New Hope Guild in Brooklyn, New York. Jonathan Berkowitz served as Administrative Assistant, MSW, and LMSW at Fordham Tremont Center in Bronx, New York during 2003-2004. Additionally, Jonathan Berkowitz offered his services as Clinical Social Worker, MSW, and CSW to the Jewish Board of Family & Children Services in Brooklyn, New York from 2002 through 2006.
During 2004–2005, Jonathan Berkowitz worked at the Bikur Cholim Department of Clinical Services in Rockland, New York as Administrative Director, MSW, and LMSW. Jonathan Berkowitz currently maintains a private practice in Teaneck, New Jersey focusing on children, adolescents, couples, and families.