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Diaphragmatic Breathing (3' Audio)   

 

Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise 1                Breathing Products 

Remember to clear all exercises with your health care practitioner. This is an exercise in diaphragmatic breathing and body awareness as you become aware of your breath.

Close your eyes, preferably lying down comfortably, with your hips and knees bent and your feet flat on the bed or floor. Or if you are sitting, elongate your spine to give your diaphragm room to expand.

Place your hands lightly on your abdomen.

Imagine your abdomen as a balloon. Your diaphragm is the top and your pelvis is the bottom of the balloon, your abdominals and back muscle make up the front, back and sides of the balloon. Now as you gently fill the balloon with air, feel your abdomen expand. Your hands on your abdomen will move out as you inhale and will move in as you exhale. Never force, simply allow.

We will use the Taoist 70% rule which means only go to 70% of your capacity to avoid strain or injury.*

Allow you breathing to become rhythmic, expanding your abdomen as you breathe in and contracting it as you breathe out. Feel your abdomen rise or expand as you gently and slowly inhale. Then feel your abdomen contract back down as you exhale. Release any tension you feel anywhere in your body.

For this exercise simply breathe in and out thru your nose. This is your everyday relaxed breathing. If you feel yourself getting tense during your day, do two or three diaphragmatic breaths and feel the tension begin to drain away.

Start to notice your breathing pattern as you go about your day. You may find that your breathing is generally more shallow than it was during this exercise. In fact, you may find that when you are really concentrated on a task, you may even hold your breath.

As you breathe slowly and gently, begin to imagine the new you. Start to visualize the goals you want to achieve. See and feel your body looking the way you want it to look, doing the things that you want to be able to do. Continue to breathe in, expanding your abdomen. Then exhale and release.

Practice a few diaphragmatic breaths in bed before you go to sleep each night. This allows you to release the tension of the day to give you a more relaxed sleep. Take periodic "breath breaks" at work and throughout your day.

Becoming aware of your breathing pattern will help you prepare for and improve the quality of your exercises. So, become aware of your breathing pattern and enjoy a breath of fresh air.

Use Diaphragmatic Breathing to increase your oxygen intake deeper into your lungs. Use diaphragmatic breathing for relaxation and calming your nervous system. Focusing on diaphragmatic breathing can help you enhance your exercise program as well as your meditation program.

* The Toaist 70% rule is taught to us by Taoist Lineage Holder Bruce Frantzis of EnergyArts.com. For more information: Learn To Breathe

       

An often overlooked aspect of diaphragmatic breathing is its affect on our "core".  We spend time trying to work our abs and deep muscles for stability and appearance.  This often results in shortening of the muscles if we fail to also stretch the muscles, such as lying backwards or sideways over a BOSU or exercise ball. 

Muscles must be at their optimum length to be at their optimum strength.  A shortened muscle has "less room" for the muscle fibers to contract.  So, by doing diaphragmatic breathing gently and correctly, we actually add flexibility to our core muscles from the inside out.  The overall result is more control and awareness of our core.

  

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