This week on the blog I wanted to respond to questions I have been receiving around the benefits of breath and breathing exercises to help us in all areas of life, especially when we are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, anger, or any other big feelings we need to manage.
In the video below I give a run down of what belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is and how to effectively engage in this breathing exercise.
Before diving into the video, I wanted to clarify that belly breathing is as effective as it is because it is the natural breathing pattern of our bodies. Belly breathing is taking deep, full breaths in and out of your belly, rather than the shallow breaths that we take from our chests.
The reason I call belly breathing our natural breathing is this: Imagine a baby laying down resting in its crib. When the baby is breathing, you will see the very obvious rise and fall of the baby's belly. This is our natural state of breathing. It is only over time and as we grow that we are conditioned out of our natural breathing state and into a breathing pattern which is more short and shallow, therefore contributing to build up of stress, anxiety, depression, worry, fear, anger, etc.
In the video I talk about belly breathing "bypassing" the lungs/chest and moving straight into our bellies. I am not a medical doctor, so I am not sure if that is what really happens, because I am pretty sure that all breath moves through the lungs. What I mean to say is the breath appears to bypass the lungs/chest and move straight into the belly. This is just so that we can have a visual in our mind of how the air should flow in and out as we are doing this exercise.
When we engage in this deep belly breathing, we are channeling the air in a different way--down to a different part of the lungs, which then expand and allow more oxygen in, which then allows for clearing of the toxins that build up in our bodies. Overtime, if we do not clear these toxins that build up in our bodies, they turn into stress, anxiety, worry, anger, fear, depression, etc.
We need to first learn this deep belly breathing exercise and get our bodies accustomed to breathing this way, before we can move into the next part of the exercise, which is a natural belly breathing pattern (another video on this later). So, check out this video and give it a try! It might feel funny at first, but the more you stick with it, the better it will feel and the more natural it will become for you.
My prescription for this breathing exercise is to start with 30 seconds to 1 minute per day to help your body get used to breathing this way, and then we add more from there. :)