Breathe into your belly (DW#682)

A very simple way to slow and elongate your breath is to practice breathing into your belly.

As you inhale (through your nose, remember?), watch your belly blow up like a balloon. Fill up the balloon as much as you can and then watch it deflate as you exhale.

(Even young children can be taught to breathe like this by keeping a stuffed toy on their belly. As they breathe in, the stuffed toy will rise and and fall as they breathe out. You can also keep something light on your belly to raise your awareness of your breathing).

Breathing like this allows up to seven times more oxygen into your blood and your system than shallow breathing. That’s right. SEVEN TIMES.

Breathing like this counteracts the loss of flexibility in the lungs that happens with age.

As we grow older, we tend to lose more and more flexibility in our chest and lungs. If measures aren’t taken to counteract this disposition, we experience and constriction in the chest area. We become more hunched when we walk. We are more tense, feeling like we are living on edge, running out of air, gasping.

Thankfully these trends are preventable and even reversible up to a point. Simply by breathing more intentionally.

So, once again, take a deep, full breath.

Now, exhale it slowly. Slowly.

Do it again. Take another deep, full breath. Let it out slowly.

And again.

Establish a nice, quiet rhythm. Always exhale more slowly than you inhale.

Already you should feel calmer, more relaxed.

If you do nothing more than this simple exercise whenever you become tense, your sense of well-being will improve.

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