And I bet you thought you already knew how to breathe. Well, odds are that you may not be breathing as well as you can. Surprisingly enough, research with Bio-Energy Testing®.
Breathing improperly affects the pH balance of the blood, which then results in a decrease in oxygen delivery at the capillary level. Additionally, improper breathing is also a major though widely ignored cost of stress, panic attacks, anxiety, low energy, and premature aging.
Chest And Diaphragmatic Breathing
There are two quite different ways to breathe: chest wall breathing and diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing.
Chest wall breathing employs the chest, shoulder, and neck muscles to lift up the chest to inflate the lungs. Chest wall breathing fails to draw in as much oxygen into the lungs' air sacks as abdominal breathing. This results in the need to breathe more times per minute in order to get the same amount of oxygen. It is this increase in breathing rate that affects the pH of the blood.
Diaphragmatic breathing uses your diaphragm to pull air into the lungs. You know when you are breathing from your diaphragm because instead of your chest rising when you inhale it remains still and your abdomen extends out. Watch babies and young children. They almost always breath from the diaphragm.
Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing does not come naturally to most adults. Somewhere along the line we learned that it was best to puff the chest out and suck the abdomen in. Also, anxiety and stress usually causes us to breath from the chest. If you have studied singing or yoga you will have already learned to breath from your diaphragm. If you haven’t, here is a good way to learn:
• Lay on your back. Almost everybody breathes from the diaphragm while lying on the back.
• Place your hand on your abdomen and notice how in this position it rises when you inhale and lowers when you exhale. Also notice how you can breathe without even moving your chest at all.
• Practice exaggerating the movement, pushing out your abdomen in order to inhale as much as you can, and then sucking in your abdominal muscles as you exhale in order to completely empty your lungs.
• When you get pretty good at diaphragmatic breathing while lying down, try it sitting up, and then eventually while standing. When you really get good, start using it when you are exercising, and notice how much air you are able to inhale without moving your chest at all!
Many studies have verified the positive health effects of meditating. Meditation has been found to be effective for stress-related disorders, anxiety, insomnia, and hypertension. It will also improve you mental faculties and increase your I.Q.
Breath Meditation is a technique I developed that allows me to have the benefits of both abdominal breathing and meditation at the same time. Try it for fifteen minutes every day for three weeks, and see if don’t notice a difference:
• Find a place where you won't be interrupted. Sit comfortably in a chair and close your eyes.
• Concentrate on breathing only with your diaphragm. Your chest should not be moving at all.
• Focus your mind on your breathing, how it feels, how the air moves, and how your abdomen moves in and out with each breath.
• Hold your breath for a moment at both the end of your inhale and at the end of your exhale.
• Whenever you notice that your mind has stopped focusing on your breathing and has wandered off thinking about one thing or another, bring your attention back to your breathing once again.
• Do not get frustrated. It is normal to have your mind wandering all over almost out of control. As you keep practicing you will begin to strengthen your power of concentration, and that is when all the benefits will start to emerge.
During The Day
Check your breathing regularly during the day especially when you are tense or nervous. If you find you are chest breathing, just take a few abdominal breaths and notice how unbelievably relaxing it can be. Be patient and keep working at it. It is well worth the effort.