We take about 28,000 breaths a day, inhaling and exhaling, bringing oxygen into our bodies, and releasing toxins and waste we don’t need.
Most of us are shallow breathers. We breathe high into our chests, not deep into the lower lobes of our lungs.
And yet breathing into our lower lobes activates the calming receptors that reside there. Breathing into our lower lungs stimulates the lymphatic system so waste products can be efficiently carried from the body. Breathing into the lower lobes allows the rib cage to be elastic and open.
This deep, whole lung breathing, is also called belly breathing because we can see our bellies rise when we fill our lower lobes with air.
Belly breathing is not hard to do. It requires no special equipment. It just takes practice.
Find a comfortable position, either standing, sitting or lying down.
Breathe in deeply through your nose.
Breathing through your nose is the best way to activate the lower lung receptors.
Inhale deeply and slowly, pulling your breath into your belly.
You might want to place your hand on your belly so you can feel it rise, feel your breath filling you up and expanding you.
Then slowly exhale through your nose, releasing your breath, releasing anything you don’t need, even if you don’t know what that is.
With each slow inhalation, try to follow your breath in, connecting with the energy.
Feel the air as it enters your nostrils.
Follow your breath as it flows into the lungs and notice how deeply it reaches.
As you exhale, feel the used air as it is expelled from your body.
With each inhalation, expand your abdomen gradually by lightly pushing out and down as the oxygen fills the lower lung cavity. Try to maintain a gentle and smooth expansion with the inhalation.
When your abdomen is full, exhale through your nose and pull your abdomen gently back into the body, compressing the lungs from the bottom.
Connect with the rhythm of your breath. With each inhalation your abdomen expands, with each exhalation it contracts.
Repeat for ten cycles, slowly and consciously filling your lungs to maximum capacity and emptying completely with each breath.
Practice belly breathing at least once a day.
You can do it anywhere–standing in line at the grocery store, when you’re stopped at a long traffic light or waiting for a phone call.
Practice belly breathing when you are feeling stressed or have insomnia.
Practice belly breathing when you are feeling calm and present.
Practice belly breathing so that, one day, you will realize that this is how you are breathing all of the time.
Many people find it difficult to practice breathing when they are reading the directions.
Click here to listen to a breathing meditation that you can download to iTunes. Just right click or, if you use a Mac, hold down the Control key and click on the link, then choose to Download.
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