Focusing on breathing can enhance your wellness, during the present and for the long-term. Many of us habitually breathe shallowly, are “chest breathers” and use our small muscles rather than our large muscles to breathe. The fast pace and anxiety of modern life can cause us to have a high, shallow breath. Shallow breathing does not allow enough oxygen to enter the body, which is necessary to produce red blood cells. This puts the body in a state of panic, which in turn can cause more rapid, shallow breathing. A vicious cycle! In addition, improper breathing can put tension on the backup breathing muscles, which can add tension to your neck.
Try these simple techniques to deepen and slow your breathing, relax your body and mind, and ease tension:
Put one hand on your breastbone and one on your belly. Practice filling your belly with your inhale, rather than breathing into your chest. Think big Buddha belly!
Use a simple 10-count. One big slow inhale, and slow exhale = 1. The next set of inhale and exhale =2. Continue to 10, and repeat. Your mind may wander with thoughts, or you may find yourself at 17 or 18. That’s OK! Just reset and begin again. 1-10.
Your lungs are like an umbrella – they expand in all directions! Breathe out to the sides, into your back, into your front. Place your hands on your ribs and feel them expand, side-to-side, and front-to-back.
Relax and enjoy! Take a little time to find your breathing space each day. Ahhh.