Okay, right now, take a deep, relaxing breath. Don’t read anymore until you do this. Relax.
Take a deep breath.
How did that feel? What part of your torso expanded? Did you even notice? If not, do it again.
There are 3 main locations where people breathe. Either in their Chest, their Solar Plexus (In between the chest and belly button), or in their abdomen.
Each one is fine and has its place, but primarily you should be using your diaphragm to breathe through your abdomen. This is healthy breathing!
Let’s face it, we live in a Fast-Paced Society bent on looking buff chested and filled with anxiety.
These 2 factors make it to where people have spent less and less time focusing on their bodies. Naturally, they have little Body Awareness. Or as one modern day Jesus looking fellow wearing a dress once put it, “Body Communion!”
Chest breathing has become a staple.
And just like any habit, it takes consistent practice to break it. So is it worth all the effort? (lol it’s really not much)…
Belly breathing will enhance your energy, calm you down, and promote a feeling of health and well-being.
It will help you feel looser around the neck, since every time you take a chest breath, your Scalenes and Sternocleidomastoid (neck muscles) assist in raising the first and second ribs up to allow for air. For stress monkeys, this means an ALL DAY WORKOUT! HA! “No wonder my neck is tight!”
Conversely, the diaphragm is DESIGNED for breathing. It is your MAIN breathing muscle and it is how you should be breathing when you aren’t being chased by a lion or doing a Ninja Warrior obstacle course!
It’s well recognized in the fields of yoga, meditation, martial arts, singing, and others.
And it’s okay to let your belly poke out! Remember, you are in the process of shifting your values towards health. Your vanity value may object,”Eww no! A poked out belly is gross!” but simply thank it for its opinion and remember what that opinion gets you – Low energy, anxious feelings, and tight neck muscles. Lol it’s not like you’re going to have a pudgy belly! You’re just going to have a belly that expands as you breathe…. More so than most, since if you haven’t been practicing belly breathing, then your connective tissue has adapted and tightened up. Expanding this tissue will help you take fuller, deeper, healthier breaths
So how do I do it?? Easy.
It’s just like filling up a glass of water.
Simply put one hand on your abdomen below your belly button and the other hand on your chest with a finger or 2 touching your neck just above the collar bone.
Now take a breath in and ONLY make your abdomen move.
Watch children, they do it naturally, especially babies. You have to train yourself to be a stressed out lunatic! Okay, okay you’re not that crazy… you’ve just lost your mind…’s focus on the body ;)
When you take a full breath, just fill that glass of water up from the bottom to the top.
The thing you are looking out for during practice is filling up from the Solar Plexus or Chest. Either start down low, or lose out on important oxygen and physiological benefits.
Now, it’s time to make a commitment… if you want to change that is. If you are just reading for fun, then peace out! But for those who want to integrate this useful information, here’s a few ways to indoctrinate yourself to healthy breathing
Each of these consistently done will retrain your nervous system to breathe this way naturally and will raise your awareness to do it consciously
Choose one, or many:
1. Set your intent to take one deep breath every hour on the hour.
2. Take five (arbitrary) minutes every day to just sit and breathe…for instance, as a break to the stressful work day or on your way to work.
3. Every time you stop at a red light, bring your awareness to the breath. (then the tension in your body for bonus)
4. Every time you see Big Truck, take a Big Breath.
5. Hold a special someone and just breathe together. Getting into sync can be pretty cool.
6. Put a post it note somewhere you will see it often and follow it’s directions “Breathe Healthy”
7. Have fun! Create your own practice! Just make it CONSISTENT and you'll have it handled within a few weeks or months.
Godspeed my fellow breath warrior, Godspeed.