Breathe Like You Mean It - Effective Breathing Technique
Often times the greatest secrets of living a better life are right in front of us, and something that we all have access to.
When we are born into the world we are full of wonder, joy and peace. If you observe a baby’s breathing pattern you will notice the depth and expansiveness of each breath, causing the little belly to inflate and the entire body to rise like a balloon.
The baby’s breath is a key indication of the openness and connection we have when we enter this world — in touch with the basic rhythms of life. Better breathing is a very powerful way to get a strong boost of positive energy.
This type of breath is called “full-body breathing” and the beauty of a baby’s breath is my favorite example of how we are truly meant to breathe.
As we move through life we tend to slowly close up as we are exposed to the rigors and influences that we encounter. We learn how to be on guard and become tense. Eventually, we end up breathing just enough to survive — short and shallow breaths. Often times not even breathing at all for seconds at a time while we are distracted by our external world and racing thoughts.
When we constrain our breaths we lose the ability to open up to the fullness of the present moment and what it truly feels like to be alive.
By learning how to breathe properly you can begin to let go of worry and tension. There is a reason why yoga and meditation techniques rely so heavily on deep breathing.
If you find yourself in an upsetting or anxiety-provoking situation, try to take your attention away from the situation at hand and focus your attention on your breathing — making each breath slow, deep and easy. The key, is to practice some daily breathing exercises at home to develop conditioning before we encounter these situations.
Directing your awareness back into your breathing and learning to work with it is an amazingly powerful way to regain the fresh aspect of life which, for many of us, has been lost somewhere along the way.
The intentional practice of proper breathing techniques will help boost energy and condition your mind and body to function properly through effective breathing all the time.
Here are a few simple steps to achieve the belly breathing technique, also called diaphragmatic breathing:
- Sitting up as straight as possible with your eyes closed, relax your shoulders and then focus on relaxing the rest of your body. Proper posture helps promote proper energy flow through the body
- Bring your awareness to any tension in the body and allow yourself to release any stress or tense energy.
- Take some time to calm the mind. Intentionally sink into your comfortable position and allow your thoughts to settle for a couple minutes. (your mind will settle eventually if you give it a chance!)
- Place one hand lightly on the abdomen with your thumb in line with the navel.
- Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, counting to 5 on each inhale and each exhale. Feel your abdomen expand slightly more than your chest as your hand gets pushed away from your body.
- For every inhale imagine your body rising like a balloon — representing the rise in energy and expanded awareness.
- Exhale slowly out through the mouth, counting to 10 (twice as long as the inhale) imagine your tailbone being pulled to the ground — representing a sense of being grounded and in touch with the body.
- Continue this rhythm 10 times without pausing. You will start to feel relaxed and energized.
*If you start to feel light headed, try slowing down or stop completely.
Once you practice one of these breathing exercises on a regular basis, you will find that you have more energy and may even benefit health wise due to the increased oxygen flow to your body. Eventually this will become an unconscious habit, one which your body which most certainly thank you for!