Abdominal Breathing is the way nature intended us to breathe.
How do you Breathe?
Sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes open or closed.
Place one hand on your chest and the other over your diaphragm just below the breast bone. Breathe in slowly through the nose, and try to breathe so that the hand on your chest remains relatively still. Feel the hand on your tummy move as the air enters.
Release as much air as possible.
You can also lie on your back with your knees bent, or stand in a relaxed stance with feet slightly apart - whatever works best for you!
And then continue...
You also want to pay attention to breathing slowly. Because you are taking in 10x as much air when you breathe with your abdomen as you do when you breath only into your chest, you could find yourself hyperventilating.
So consciously slow down your breath rate.
Normal breathing is between 12 and 16 breaths a minute. Hyperventilation gets you breathing at about 25 - 40 per minute. And our goal is to reduce our breathing to 3-5 breaths a minute.
First focus on getting the technique correct and then start counting breaths!
* And remember to enjoy doing it!*
After a few minutes of abdominal breathing your body starts to respond. It starts to relax! Don't force it - just let it happen!
To start, you may feel that you are not "getting enough air in" and may feel like taking a deep upper chest breath like a "sigh". This sensation seems to be related to your body moving from a state of tension to a relaxed state.
If you feel compelled to "sigh", it may be because your normal rate of breathing is close to hyperventilation. Resist the urge to gulp air and, in time and with practice, this feeling will pass.
And... be assured you ARE getting enough air...
Actually, much more than normal.
Abdominal breathing may feel strange to you at first. That is because it is new to you. Continue to practice and concentrate and you will get used to the new sensations.
As you begin to breathe in this way you may feel heaviness in the body, drowsiness and calmness. These feelings of relaxation will become normal for you as abdominal breathing becomes your natural way of breathing.
I started practicing this technique a few years ago and find that I now breath abdominaly without being aware of it.
Correct breathing contributes greatly to a sense of physical and emotional well-being.
And now try some more breathing techniques to add to your sense of calm and well-being!
Try the Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise to become more aware of each breath!! Also a great way to start a meditation or just relax!
A good, deep YAWN is an excellent instant DIY stress relief tool - gives you a quick intake of oxygen!
Add your favourite essential oils to a diffuser and enhance the experience!