breathing for calm

Calm & simple: How to breathe better for soothing calm

November 14, 2018 , In: Self care, Uncategorized, Yoga & meditation , With: No Comments

Today’s tip is simply to direct your breath into your belly.

Why? Because for full, soft, easy and calming breath, belly breathing is where it’s at!

The thing is, many of us have developed a habit of chest breathing, (thanks to too much sitting and a societal conditioning to ‘suck the belly in’!)

When we default to chest (or thoracic) breathing, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body get out of whack, potentially leading to rapid heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other unpleasant physical sensations.

But wait, there’s more – with shallower chest breathing, blood doesn’t get oxygenated properly, which may send a stress response to the brain that feeds anxious feelings – and even panic attacks – eek!

Our bellies have more room for air to travel and and out, and focusing here facilitates deeper, slower breathing, delivering the good stuff (fresh prana, waves of calm) to nourish the whole body and mind -aahhhhh…

Fun fact the lungs are huge – if you spread them out, their surface area would cover a tennis court!.

So, for the biggest bang for your breathing (and calm) buck, favour belly breathing.

How do you tell if you’re a chest or belly breather??

Here’s a quick way to find out:

  • Lie down and place your hand, a soft toy, or your eye-pillow on your belly.
  • Close your eyes and breathe naturally.
  • Tune in to detect any movement of your hand/toy/ eye-pillow on the belly.
  • After a few minutes, move your awareness (and prop) to the chest. Pay attention to the movement there.
  • Play detective – which part of the body makes the prop move the most? If it’s the belly – congrats – you’re a belly-breather! If you get most movement around the upper lungs at the chest, you’re a chest breather, and we can work on that!

Need to boost your belly breathing?

Take a few moments every day (as you settle in for sleep is a good time) to work on it. Simply lay your prop on your tummy as a physical reminder to direct your breath there.

Remember, practice makes perfect! With a little effort, you can break the habit of chest breathing and cultivate a soothing, belly breath as your new normal.

Bonus – With belly breathing, the abdominal muscles a tiny workout.. 🙂

How have you been creating calm lately? Got any tips or tricks to share? Let me know in the comments below, or pop over to facebook.

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Hi, I'm Bronni

Writer, health nut, mum, wife, 'me-time’ craver & general life enthusiast

Adventures in calm is a fun, welcoming place to recharge your soul and follow my quirky adventures in cultivating calm. Think yoga, meditation, self-care experiments and life-hacks that are simple to do and easy to fit into life, everyday. I’d love you to join me - adventures are more adventurous with a few friends, right?