Next time you’re visiting a friend or relative who just had a baby, instead of looking at how cute the little one is, try noting how he breathes. Does his chest rise and fall, or is it his belly that’s expanding and contracting? Now, take a look at how you breathe… it’s the exact opposite, right? Now, the fact is, babies are doing it right and we are doing it wrong. In other words: we should all learn (or relearn, actually) abdominal breathing…
Now, abdominal breathing doesn’t mean you’re breathing with your stomach. It only seems that way since you’ll be pushing down on your diaphragm, which is a muscle between your chest and abdomen. By doing so, you’re ensuring that as much air as possible goes into your lungs. And it’s easy to get started:
1. Lie on your back, and then place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
2. Breathe in through your nose, slowly and deeply. Make sure that the hand on your belly rises, while the one on your chest stays relatively still.
3. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Gently contract your abdominal muscles as you do so to ensure that as much air gets expelled.
Abdominal breathing supposedly has a wide range of benefits, but what’s most important here is that your lungs will be taking in more oxygen. This can help with everything from generating more energy from the calories you burn to helping you calm down during moments of stress. So, imagine if you can make a habit of this. Not easy, I know, but it would provide a major boost to your overall health while at the same time cutting back on your stress levels… Sounds nice, no?