The Full Belly Breath
Breathing is one of the most natural and involuntary things we do. In...Out...Repeat. You might think you're an expert on this, because you've doing it since birth. Well it turns out the average person only breathes at about 50% capacity. Obviously this is enough to stay alive and function. But there are important reasons to make the extra effort to breathe more deeply. It increases oxygen to the brain and body via the blood, allowing us to think more clearly, and reduce muscle fatigue. It also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the nerves, and helps reduce anxiety.
You can practice the Full Belly Breath anytime and anywhere...at your desk, lying in bed, or when you're stuck in traffic!
Let's Try It Now.
1) Sit or lie down.
If sitting, place both feet flat on the floor in front of you and sit straight so you have a nice elongated spine. Place hands on your belly. If lying, stretch legs out in front of you and place hands on belly. Relax your shoulders, and soften the muscles of the face and neck.
2) Take a large inhale through the nose, and an audible exhale through the mouth, "Ahhh".
Repeat twice. Really sigh and let a sound come out. It’ll release tension.
3) On your next breath, inhale slowly through the nose, and send the breath deeper into the abdominals, allowing the belly to blow up like a balloon.
Mentally follow the air as it flows into the nostrils, down into the lungs, into the diaphram and down into the belly. If comfortable hold the breath for a second or two.
4) Exhale slowly and fully back through the nose.
Pull the abs in slightly at the end to really get that last bit of air out.