Yesterday we discussed that “deep breathing” does not mean “big breathing,” & that, in fact, you actually need less air when taking a true deep breath. Here are some practices to help you begin deep breathing regularly so you can improve oxygenation and energy levels.
1. Breathe through your nose. We’ve mentioned this a lot, but breathing nasally naturally activates the diaphragm, bringing air deeper into your lungs. Mouth breathing activates the upper chest, leading to shallow, less efficient breathing.
2. Sit upright, relax your shoulders, & place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Breathe so that the hand on your chest does not move & the hand on your belly does. When you breathe in, your belly moves out, & when you breathe out, your belly moves in. Imagine breathing deep into your belly so that your stomach inflates like a balloon on the inhale, & slowly deflates on the exhale, all while your chest & shoulders remain still.
3. Lie on your back with your legs bent at your knees, or let them lie flat if that is more comfortable. Place your hand (or a small book) on your belly. Focus on breathing into your belly so that your hand (or the book) slowly rises on the inhale, & slowly falls on the exhale. This is one of the easiest ways to activate the diaphragm & get air deep into your lungs. Try taking ten nice slow breaths like this when going to bed (without a book of course!)…you might find that you fall asleep before you finish!