Belly breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple deep breathing technique that teaches you how to use your diaphragm, a sheet of muscle at the bottom of our lungs and the most important muscle for breathing. It is often used as a complementary therapy for anxiety disorders and may also help to boost energy and stamina.
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- Sit in a chair, stand, or lie on your back. You don’t have to sit cross-legged.
- Try to calm your mind. Forget about what you’re going to make for dinner tonight, the emails you still have to respond to, and the birthday gift you still have to get for your mother-in-law. Don’t force it, just let go of any thought that pops in your mind.
- Proper posture gets air into your lungs and helps energy flow through your body. Sit up straight, imagining a string lifting up your chest. You should feel the area between your chest and your navel lengthen. As you try to improve your posture, you may find your muscles tensing up, especially around the abdomen. Consciously try to release any tension from your body.
- Place one hand flat against the abdomen. Your thumb should be around your navel. Breathe in through your nose at an even rate. Allow your abdomen to expand, rather than your upper chest. You should feel the hand on your abdomen being pushed away from your body as your abdomen rises. Count silently starting from “one”.
- Breathe out slowly and evenly through your mouth. Again, count silently. Exhalation should take about twice as long as inhalation. So if you counted to three when you inhaled, strive to count to six when you exhale, but don’t force it.