Honestly, I am feeling a little bloggers remorse. I may have gotten in a little over my head with this challenge. I am not sure that my “do’s” are interesting enough for my readers. After being awoken from my deep slumber (something I only recently have had the privilege of since “the boy” has started sleeping through the night) by my feverish daughter, anxious, I quickly became. After getting her some meds, I checked my emails. Boy was happy to see an email from my sister with an attachment on “breathing”… something she has been working on with one of her many guru’s she see’s. Of course, we all breathe, but usually we do it incorrectly. If you look at how a baby breathes, and how you do, it is quite different. Our belly balloons up on an exhale, and baby bellies fill up on an inhale (which is the correct way). Somewhere along the way, we all go astray. Some of you find your way back through yoga and meditation, but most of us, do not.
Through breathing, we can better our physical and mental health, something I think most of us have probably just set New Year’s resolutions about. Am I right? So my friends, let’s learn to improve ourselves by improving our breathing.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
*This breathing exercise should be done twice a day, while lying on your back in bed before you fall asleep and before you start your day.
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. (This insures that the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of the lungs.)
- Inhaling; take a slow deep breath in through your nose imagining that you are sucking in all the air in the room until your belly and chest blow up like a balloon, without straining.
- Exhale; slowly through your mouth. As all the air is released with relaxation, gently contract your abdominal muscles at the end to completely evacuate the remaining air from the lungs.
- Repeat the cycle four more times for a total of 5 deep breaths and try to breathe at a slow rate (4-6 breaths per minute).
Once you feel comfortable with the above technique, you can incorporate words that can enhance the exercise (maybe even your “own little word”).
~For example you could say to yourself the words, relaxation (with inhalation) and stress or anger (with exhalation). The idea being, to bring in the feeling/emotion you want with inhalation and release those you don’t want with exhalation.
The use of the hands on the chest and abdomen are only needed to help you train your breathing. Once you feel comfortable with your ability to breathe into the abdomen, they are no longer needed.
*click here for a printable version of this Diaphragmatic Breathing excercise. If you are anything like me, I am sure if you do not print this, you probably won’t actually do this.
“It is thought by many cultures that the process of breathing is the essence of being. A rhythmic process of expansion and contraction, breathing is one example of the consistent polarity we see in nature, such as night and day, wake and sleep, seasonal growth and decay and ultimately life and death. ”
~American Medical Student Association
Let’s Do this!
Follow me as I get my $h!t together in many other ways during my “Improving by Do-ing 31 day challenge”