Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
Put both your hands on the sides of your rib cage and begin breathing naturally in and out, like you would normally. You should feel your rib cage expanding in and out as air fills the lungs and as you breathe back out.
For most of us, our chest will also move up and down in a vertical action as the muscles in your chest and ribs pull up to expand the ribcage. This is called chest breathing or thoracic breathing and is, in fact, a dysfunctional way to breathe.
If you move your hands from the sides of your ribs down a little bit and then in (where the ribs finish), there is a cavity. This is your diaphragm, a large dome-shaped muscle that sits underneath your lungs. This domed shaped muscle, which has a left and right dome, separates your upper respiratory system from the digestive system. When you breathe from here you allow for proper amounts of oxygen to be absorbed into the body.
1. Close your mouth and shut your eyes and begin to breathe in and out through your nose
2. Relax your shoulders and sit or stand straight
3. Using your hands as feedback place them over the diaphragm and take a slow breath in from here and let the ribs expand sideways and the stomach to relax and move out.
4. Then exhale and feel the diaphragm drop and the ribs come in. (There should not be an up and down motion to your breath)
5. Practice breathing in and out through the nose letting the breath move in and out of the body in a slow, calm and rhythmic way, Try breathing like this for 4 minutes letting the body fall deeper into relaxation with the breath.
6. As you breathe notice any tension you may hold in the body and let your breath gently dissolve it.
As you breathe in, let the stomach relax and move with the breath. As you inhale the belly will naturally expand and as you exhale it will naturally come in. This slow rhythmic pump will soothe your whole body. *Try adding a small pause at the end of the inhalation and after you exhale, take another small pause. Eventually, your exhalation should be longer than your inhalation.
*remember never to force your breath or gasp for air*