by Jill Miller, Creator, Yoga Tune Up
The physiological effects of Abdominal Breathing (belly breathing) is a gift we’ve been given, but too many of us have become accustomed to Thoracic Breathing (chest breathing) and end up living in a state of fight or flight. Watch this video below for your how to guide for abdominal breathing, but first, let me explain….
Abdominal breathing, once you become conscious of it, is easy to do and is the way we were born to breathe. If you watch a baby, it will belly breathe naturally. It is only once we take on the daily stressors of life that thoracic breathing takes on its evil grip.
Here’s how it works: Abdominal breathing relies on the unimpeded motion of the respiratory diaphragm. This dome shaped muscle contracts downward towards your abdominal viscera during inhalation; this creates a vacuum in the lungs and air then rushes in to fill the void. The diaphragm’s downward motion jostles and shifts the abdominal contents in all directions and this creates a bloating or swelling of the core.
As the body exhales, the respiratory diaphragm relaxes and flows back up towards the lungs, expelling the out-breath as it resets itself into its docile mushroom cap-like position. The abdominal muscles and its contents recoil and sink towards the spine as the diaphragm migrates towards the lungs. The downwards and upwards movements of the respiratory diaphragm create the appearance and sensation of the “belly rise, belly fall,” action that you’ll experience in this sedating breathing exercise.
Abdominal breathing helps to turn ON the OFF SWITCH in the nervous system. It tranquilizes a body and mind that is stressed, aroused and “up-regulated” into a calmer, more sedated, “down-regulated” state. Practice abdominal breathing to “chill out,” and collect your cool if you feel yourself spiraling towards panic. Let me know how it works for you…Happy Belly Breathing!
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