Breathing is something we do all day and night and often don’t put our focus on it. We know it is the most important thing we need for life as we can’t survive for more than a few minutes without it. But are we breathing optimally?

In our busy world, living a fast paced life we may find ourselves noticing our breathing being a bit off. Perhaps a bit too shallow, too rapid and feeling we are using our shoulders to help instead of our diaphragm, our breathing muscle to help get air in.

When we breath using our diaphragm (belly breathing) we find that not only do our shoulders stay more relaxed, but we feel more energised, and our brain is getting more oxygen.

Our diaphragm is our breathing muscle and when we breath in, our lungs are filling up with air and our diaphragm muscle, (which sits under our lungs and goes from the front to the back and from side to side of our chest), moves down. When we are breathing in and using our diaphragm properly we see our belly pushing out. When we are not breathing properly and generally we see shoulders lifting instead, then we are not getting the vital oxygen our brains need for us to function at our best.

So let’s go through and re-learn to breath. Watch small children and animals breath and you will notice their abdomens push out as they breath in. This is what we are aiming for with our belly breathing. I will break the process into steps to make it easier. Master step one before you go on to step 2. It may take you a few days to get the first step.

STEP 1 Learning to Push Belly Out

Best to lie down and place hands gently on your abdomen. Practice pushing your belly out and relax your shoulders. Once you have mastered this then try it while you are breathing in. So breath in and push your belly out. Sounds easy, but if you haven’t been breathing properly for a while, years perhaps, this is not an easy task. Keep persisting and you will get there.

STEP 2 Learning the ratio of breathe in to breathe out – ALL THROUGH YOUR NOSE.

Now that you have re-learnt to breath using your diaphragm and are gently pushing belly out with your inhalation, you can introduce a ration of breathe in to breathe out.

Another focus point as you are breathing in through your nose and pushing diaphragm down as your belly is pushing out, you can gently allow your ribcage on the sides to move up and out, similar to lifting a bucket handle.

So here is the ratio: Breathe in 1 count : Breathe out 2 counts

So if you breath in for 4 seconds, you then breath out for 8 seconds.

Reducing STRESS and helping you RELAX

Once you are comfortable with this breathing exercise and the more you do it, the more ‘normal’ it will become. It is a great tool to help you in stressful situations such as before a big meeting, if the children are playing up or if you are stuck in a traffic jam. You will find that this form of breathing will help to reduce your cortisol levels, your stress chemical and help you to function better and feel better. All naturally!!

PLUS, your nerve system will love you for it.


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