Learn to breathe much more efficiently to help control and relieve these and other mind/body issues
Disclaimer: Always seek professional medical advice to check your state of health
The way we breathe plays a massive part in our physical and mental health and it will be very difficult to solve the above and many other issues effectively if we are not breathing correctly. The majority of clients who come to see me with stress, anxiety or panic attacks are (obviously) still breathing but not correctly!
If you watch a baby breathing you will see how easy and natural it looks. However, as we grow up, life gets in the way with a disappointment here and a knock there, and over time that continues to build up leaving us in the fight and flight state, looking for danger at every corner.
This is a heavy drain on our resources and over time wears us out, exacerbating the tension in the body and leaving us physically and mentally exhausted.
Breathing correctly is paramount to our health so here is a simple way to learn how to do it much more efficiently.
I would suggest to at first practise this lying down, soles of your feet flat on the floor, knees pointing upwards and a cushion under your head.
If we first try this sitting or standing we can become confused because the connection between brain and body has been slowly getting lost over time. Lying on the floor means we can’t move our shoulders and the brain /body can relearn the natural breathing pathways and muscular connections.
So, lying on the floor or bed, when you feel comfortable in this position place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest just below the collarbones.
Now we get to the part that seems so simple but can take a few days to get used to especially if we have been upper chest breathing and not using the lungs efficiently.
Take a slow breath in and notice what moves.
If correct you will start the breath from your belly and your lower hand will move up. If not you will be lifting the shoulders and breathing only into the upper part of the chest and only the hand on your chest will rise.
Now focus on your belly and push in and out a few times with your abdomen muscles.
Now using those muscles breathe deeply in as if all the air is going into your belly. It’s not air but the diaphragm pushing down and making more space for the lungs to fill with air.
Do this a few times to get that new sequence working.
With a little practise you won’t need to think about your abdomen muscles, they will strengthen and work simply as the diaphragm moves down and the organs move out of the way to give more space.
The next part brings the ribcage into play.
From the same position “breath half the air into the belly” and then continue to breathe in the rest of the air into the chest without raising the shoulders. Notice what is happening as the air physically fills the lungs. As the lungs expand so will the ribcage expand at which point you will feel the hand on your chest moving up with each breath.
The more you get a feel for this the more you will feel the ribcage expanding not just at the front but also through the sides and back.
Keeping your hand on your belly, experiment by moving the top hand and touch the side of your ribcage. Now as you breath in and out you will feel the ribs expand at the side of your chest.
Practise this in bed on the floor only for a minute or two each day until you get used to it but you will soon find that this sequence will become natural and you will be doing it without thinking.
I hope you find this useful and if you would like more tips on improving your lifestyle please follow me on YouTube.