When we breathe normally, we do not use our entire lung volume and many of us have a tendency to breathe in the upper part of the lungs and not “breathing with the belly”. Today I want us to concentrate a little more on the breath and our breathing. You find a video tutorial below.
The respiratory system is something that for most of us just works. It regulates itself, among other things, with the help of CO2 levels in the blood which I wrote about in the first part of this series Part 1: Knowledge. However, we breath without needing to think of it. Before a breath hold though, conscious breathing is crucial.
In this exercise we learn to be more conscious about our breathing, finding the volume of the lungs and get used to breathing with “all parts of the lungs” from the belly to the throat. Before a longer breath hold it is good to use as much of your lung volume as possible. If you know you are one of those that tend to breathe very shallow (mainly with the upper part of your lungs), this exercise is good to find the belly breathing. Now, remember we should breathe with the belly, so let it be big and bulge.
Part 2: The Breath
- Find a place where you can lie down comfortably and undisturbed. Lie down straight and relax your whole body.
- Put one hand on your belly and one over your chest and just feel your breathing. Reflect on how your body moves as your breathe.
- Put both hands on your belly and breathe “only with your belly” (very deep) for ten breaths.
(from 00:05 in the movie below)
- Put your hands on your chest and breathe “only with your lungs” for ten breaths.
(from 00:35 in the movie below)
- Put one hand on your throat and breathe “only with your throat” (very shallow) for ten breaths.
(from 1:05 in the movie below)
- Now put your bellybreathing and lungbreathing together. Start by “filling the belly” with air, then fill the lungs. Exhale by first emptying the air in the lungs and then the belly. Blow out all the air when you exhale. Do this for ten breaths.
(from 1:25 in the video below)
- Now add all three parts together. Belly, lungs and throat. Start by filling the belly with air. When it is full, you fill the lungs and when they are full you finish your inhale by filling your throat. Exhale by first emptying the air in the throat, then the lungs and finally the belly. Blow out all the air when you exhale. Do this in ten breaths.
(from 2:20 in the movie below)
- In the video below, I do each part three times instead of ten.
- Personally, in the beginning, I found it difficult to find the belly breathing. Therefor, I just tried to breathe and make sure to actively move my belly instead of the chest. Then, after a while, the belly breathing came naturally.
- The exercise above can also be done sitting. Perfect as a little break at work before lunch.
- My advice is to do breathing exercises on an empty stomach or a few hours after eating.
Get used to belly breathing
Do this exercise to remind yourself to relax and find your belly breathing. I advice you to do this kind of conscious breathing for some minutes before a breath hold. Before a breath hold I usually breathe deep into my belly and a bit up into the lungs, like step 6 in the exercise. In the last breath before I hold my breath I breathe down into the belly, up into the lungs and then the throat to get in as much air as possible, like step 7 in this exercise.
Be kind to your self, be kind to others.
Nicole Edensbo, 2020-04-24