Today I decided to share with you the wonders of a really simple daily technique – diaphragmatic breathing – how to do it and how to reap all of its amazing benefits. Let’s begin!
What is a Diaphragmatic Breathing and how to execute it?
This breathing technique is part of the yoga breathing complex (Pranayama) and it is very popular among yogis. They know that proper breathing is essential for our wellbeing and pay extra attention to exercise this properly. Here is how to do it:
Start by focusing on the muscles of your abdomen and start breathing through the nose by expanding your belly. Your shoulders and chest should not be moving – you can even put one of your hands on the chest and the other – on your belly. Only the hand on the lower part of the body should be moving as you breathe. Repeat it as many times a day as you like, and as long as you feel comfortable.
See? It is easy! The tough part is to get used to this type of breathing so that it becomes our dominant breathing. Here is how to do it:
Take about 15 minutes daily to exercise diaphragmatic breathing. Lie down comfortably and put a stable object on your belly, such as a book (not too heavy one). The goal is to exercise pushing the object with the abdomen while inhaling deeply with the diaphragm. It will take some time and persistence so that the body learns to do this unconsciously and naturally.
What are the benefits of regular Diaphragmatic Breathing?
- Relieves the stress
The greatest benefit from this breathing technique is achieving deep relaxation. We know how stressful our lives have become, and how important is to keep your nervous system in a good shape. I am not going to mention how many serious illnesses start from accumulating too much anxiety, because this will only add to the problem. Let’s focus on solutions! So, diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which evokes the feeling of relaxation.
- Supplies more oxygen
This healthy breathing pattern also increases the oxygen delivery to the cells, which, you know… makes us alive. 😀 It also stimulates the blood flow and enhances the nourishment of the brain and muscles. Most athletes always include abdominal breathing in their warming and stretching routines. A research conducted by the University of Arizona studied how diaphragm breathing affected people suffering from fibromyalgia (a disease with a lot of pain in the joints, muscles, ligaments, etc.). The researchers found that just by slowly breathing with the diaphragm decreased the pain significantly.
- Improves our concentration
It is logical that if we decrease the stress levels, our minds get clearer and it is much easier to focus. If you practice meditation or visualization, always start with this breathing technique – it will calm the mind and evoke a positive feeling of connection between the mind and body. It will get you much faster into Alpha state.
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- Increases our lungs’ capacity
Most of us usually breathe in a “shallow” manner, especially when we are under stress. We got so used to it that it became our predominant breath pattern, but it deprives us from precious oxygen, which subsequently loads the nervous and cardiovascular systems. We become more stressed, flaccid, and frequently get out of breath. When we consciously exercise the diaphragm, it can stretch further down towards the belly, which gives the lungs more space to expand. That is why professional singers, actors, speakers, athletes, even teachers practice this diaphragmatic breathing regularly in order it to become habitual. It gives them stability in their voices, expands the capacity of the lungs, which can supply them with some extra amount of air.
- Detoxes our bodies
When we supply more oxygen to the cells, and stimulate the blood flow, we gently cleanse our body; and enhance the natural detoxing process of our organism. This also works on deep energetic level. Deep belly breathing, if executed regularly, strengthens and purifies our energetic field, balances the chakras, and helps us overcome negative subconscious patterns. Remember that detoxing the body requires a holistic approach – diet, exercises, cleansing rituals, and bio skin care. Skin care is essential, because this is one of the biggest entrances for toxic agents from the environment.
So, as a conclusion, practice this breathing technique as much as you can – it will benefit you greatly on the long run. For example, when you are waiting in line, sitting in your car in a traffic jam, watching the news (God forbid! :D), before important meetings or interviews, or any other time you feel anxious and stressed, remember to slow down the thought process and breathe with your belly. It will give you a great relief and clarity. Don’t forget about the power poses we talked about here. It is an excellent combo for boosting confidence and overcoming nervousness a.k.a. stage fright!
If you liked this article and found it helpful, share it, send it to someone who might also benefit from it, or leave a comment below and let me know what your thoughts on the matter are!
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Holistic living, personal development, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing enthusiast.