So easy and yet so many of us get it wrong! Most of us who live in the so called ‘civilised world’ suffer from shallow breathing. From an early age we are told to stand up straight, watch our posture, put shoulders back. This is great advice but it leads into thinking that we should be breathing from our chests. Also as we grow older many of us have the tendency to hold in our stomachs in order to look slimmer.
Shallow breathing uses the upper chest and upper back muscles to lift the ribcage, overworking these muscles and leaving the diaphragm (who’s job that is) un-exercised. The result is shoulders that face inwards, a slight hunched back that with time will only get worse and inefficient breathing. The diaphragm is the only muscle that can fully and efficiently lift the ribcage to allow the lungs to fully extend and take a full breath. Those with shallow breathing resort to short quick breaths with exercising or when under stress, quickly tiring or getting irritated.
70% of the body’s detoxification process is done through the lungs, and this is another main reason why efficient breathing is so important.
BREATHING EXERCISES BY ALEXANDRA SOVERAL
These exercises are a simple way to deepen breathing and to cleanse the lungs. These exercises will also increase energy and decrease tension.
Lie flat on your back to get a proper sense of deep breathing. Rest a small pillow under the neck and knees to reduce strain. Place one hand on your stomach at the base of the rib cage. Place the other hand on your chest. Take a slow and deep breath in through the nose to the count of 9. Placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth whilst breathing in through the nose allows for a soft breath. The breath should not put any strain on the muscles of the nose or face. As you inhale your stomach should expand, raising your hand at the base of your ribcage. Your chest should remain still, with your hand on your chest not rising at all with the in breath. As you finish inhaling to the count of 9, start exhaling immediately.
Exhale through the mouth softly, making the exhalation last to the count of 9. Carry on exhaling even if you feel you do not have any more air coming out. When you feel a tight knot in your stomach is when you have totally finished exhaling. Whilst exhaling, the hand on the base of your ribcage should go down with the breath whilst the hand on your chest should remain totally still. Carry on inhaling and exhaling in the same way 9 times. Do this every day. During the day whenever you have a spare minute do a few breathing exercises wherever you are, standing or sitting down, this helps deal with stress and tension.