Ok, so yesterday I wrote a blog entitled ‘Breathe’ and promised you some ways for slowing down your breath. Here’s one technique that I just love. It’s super easy and yes, a caveman DID do it!!
For those of you who have had Reiki sessions with me, you know I often start out by instructing new clients to Belly Breathe. I find myself doing a form of Belly Breathing (Yoga Breath) during most of my sessions. It’s just something that feels natural and I love the energy I get by doing so.
The directions below were adapted – and Melissa-ized – from livingbydesignonline.com.
Belly Breathing. This is a great place for chronic Rabbit Breathers to start as it has a calming effect on your mind. Belly Breathing is very good for releasing anger and anxiety. It can also be used for pain relief (I used it during childbirth!) and relaxation in general. Needing to calm your mind? Start here!
Place your right hand upon your chest and your left hand on your tummy. Take in a slow, deep breath (HEY, shallow breathers, fear not!! The ability to inhale deeply is buried in your DNA!) and exhale through your mouth. When you exhale, pull your tummy in slightly to squeeze out every last drop of that nasty carbon dioxide.
Notice if the hand that’s on your stomach rises higher than the hand on your chest. Did it? If so, jolly GOOD show! You’ve successfully inhaled life-giving, Fountain-of-Youth oxygen deep into your lungs. If that didn’t happen? Wahh wahhhh wahhhhhhhh. Do not pass Go and do not collect $200.
No, I’m being silly. Just try it again. Now that you know your little tummy should swell on each inhalation, try it. And try it again. Try it until you hyperventilate (kidding!) or your body starts to remember what it’s like to take a deep, whole, full breath.
Repeat this process as often as you need. If you’re like me, you’ll forget about this breath when you need it the most (eye roll). Once you’re comfortable expanding your belly, you can stop using the hand position portion of this exercise. You can always visualize a color on your inhalation and/or add some words like, “calm, peace” or “relax” when you exhale. It’s not necessary, but what you tell your mind is what you’ll believe. Let me put it this way; it can only help.
Try this type of breath when you’re driving (don’t do the hand position portion, though! 10 and 2 people! 10 and 2!) or out for a walk. Maybe even when you’re huffing and puffing and your face is turning red in some cardio gym class (yes, that one was pointed directly at me). Try this when you want some calm or conversely, when you want some energy.
Let me remind you again of a few (there are literally hundreds!) of the benefits Belly Breathing/Deep Breathing can bring about. Ready?
- Reduction in cancer as cancer cells can’t thrive in an oxygen-rich environment.
- Reduction in mental/physical fatigue plus more energy.
- I wasn’t kidding when I called Belly Breathing the “Fountain of Youth.” It really does reduce wrinkles and improves skin tone!
- Reduction in the workload for your heart, which means lower blood pressure and less heart disease. No studies were done on trying to mend a broken heart, though. Sorry.
- And rounding out the Top Five: Relaxation for the mind and body. Ding, ding! Winner Winner!! Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing causes muscles to relax and the heart rate to slow, thus allowing the mind to calm.
Let’s ditch the Stress Breath and opt for some good old oxygenated lungs. See what happens. To me, it sounds like there isn’t a downside to Belly Breathing. Well, unless you don’t want to be around to walk your daughter down the aisle, kiss your grandchildren or watch the next season of “The Kardashians” then, maybe…..