Breathing. We do it all day every day. Did you know there is a correct way to breathe? Do you breathe correctly?
Wait a minute! Breathing is automatic and natural. How can there be a right and wrong way to breathe? Why should I care and how do I know if I breathe correctly?
Breathing correctly has lots of health benefits. It can increase your energy and alertness, calm anxiety, relieve stress, improve digestion and circulation, and more!
When we are born we usually start out breathing from the diaphragm, which is the correct way to breathe. As we grow up, most of us begin to breathe from our chest, which can negatively affect our every day lives.
Chest breathing uses the chest muscles to inflate the lungs and the chest. The diaphragm and abdomen barely inflates. Breathing this way can mean that we don’t get enough oxygen into our blood, which can result in tiredness, poor muscle performance, and other issues.
Diaphragmatic breathing relies on the abdominals and diaphragm to pull down on the abdominal cavity and fully inflate the lungs. The abdominal area inflates a lot and the chest barely moves at all. This way of breathing injects much more oxygen into your bloodstream. It also helps to remove a larger volume of carbon dioxide from your body.
Why is breathing from the diaphragm important?
- Correct breathing boosts the immune system. The increased energy from more oxygen enables better self-healing, tissue regeneration, and detoxifying.
- Better breathing improves circulation and can help to relieve congestion.
- Fuller breathing can help to calm anxiety and emotions.
- Proper breathing techniques can improve digestion, as the diaphragmatic action “pumps” internal organs.
- Breathing from the diaphragm helps to eliminate excess fluids and can help to reduce swelling. The increased depth and continuity of lymphatic fluid circulation helps to speed recovery after major illnesses.
- Strength and flexibility are directly affected by breathing correctly. Greater oxygen levels mean more strength. We also feel more energetic!
- Breathing correctly can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles because circulation and blood oxygen flow are improved.
- Increasing oxygen improves our powers of mental concentration, lowers stress levels, leads to higher productivity and better decision making.
Adapted from breathing.com
How to Breathe Correctly
Diaphragmatic breathing technique
From the Cleveland Clinic
Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.
Are you going to practice Diaphragmatic breathing?