Published: 04/01/2015 - Updated: 12/29/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Breathing techniques are the most commonly used methods for releasing tension, relaxing the body, helping the body to connect to the present moment, and for forgetting worries. It helps as a healing technique in some bioenergetic practices. The most involved muscles in breathing are located in the abdominal cavity, the small muscles between the ribs and the diaphragm.
Abdominal breathing is used in yoga and is a complementary practice to pranayama and meditation. This breathing technique, also known as diaphragm breathing, is one of the best tools for energizing the body and taking control of your vitality.
Abdominal breathing can be used to:
- Reduce tension in the body
- Help treat and heal anxiety, stress, distress, fear, etc.
- Revitalize organs and systems, increasing circulation of nutrients and oxygen to the entire body.
- Help improve concentration
- Help release repressed or contained emotions.
- Help improve digestion.
- Helps the body better absorb nutrients and relax organs like the stomach, liver, intestines, etc.
- Reduces blood pH levels, which helps improve health.
- Provides a very beneficial heart massage.
- Increases the body’s defenses and helps the body reestablish energy.
- Helps rejuvenate tissues and repair cells.
How is abdominal breathing practiced?
It’s very simple. If you have a baby close by, watch how they breath in and out. Their abdomen inflates like a balloon when they take air in. When a baby exhales, the abdomen shrinks.
You should use this breathing throughout the day. If you have the bad habit of breathing incorrectly, the majority of people raise their chest when breathing in, which creates a weak and short breath.
To practice, just observe how you breathe in, watch your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is the big muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity, and is located just below the ribs.
Do it now. Sit comfortably in a chair or lay down on a mat and place your had over your belly button. Breathe in and push your stomach out. Then, exhale, slowly the air to slowly leave until you have no more air.
Breathe in again and consciously repeat the cycle for as long as you can, until you get used to breathing in this way.
When exercising, pay attention to whether you are abdominal breathing or not. This will give you better results.
When you don’t breathe properly:
- Appropriate oxygen intake and circulation is halted throughout the body.
- Your tissues and cells will start to look worn and tired.
- You’ll be more prone to getting sick.
- You’ll have a heavier digestion.
- Toxin removal will be slow and your blood toxemia level will rise, thereby making it more acidic, and more prone to illness.
Curing anxiety, depression and tension with diaphragm breathing
Whenever you feel tense, distressed, or depressed, take a few minutes to practice this breathing. We recommend that you put on some pleasant background music, preferably meditative, and place your and on your belly button. Breathe in and visualize that the palm of your hand releases a white light, which your abdomen absorbs with each inhale. When you exhale, repeat in your head an affirmation to make you feel good, like:
“I feel at peace and trust in life’s process”
“There is always space and time for everything that I want to do”
“Everything I live is a lesson”
Helping to heal others
If you know anyone that is going through an anxiety crisis or that is very tense, place your hand on their abdomen and tell them to concentrate on their breathing. You will help calm them down and relax, and slowly, their anxiety, fear, or stress will be noticeably reduced.
If you accompany this breathing technique for healing stress and anxiety, with a relaxing tea, such as mint, chamomile, passion flower, melissa, etc., your results will be even more intense. If making an infusion, sip the tea between breaths, don’t sweeten it at all, and try to focus your attention on your breathing.
Yoga is inspired by children that use this type of breathing. If you want to learn deeper and more useful techniques, we recommend that you practice Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, or simply Yoga.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/29/2017
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