Breath and Breathing

We are told to stand up straight put our shoulders back and pull in our tummies. Our appearance is so important. The shoulders back and relaxed is actually a healthy way to stand for our breathing if we don’t over do it and push past what is comfortable. To find that sweet spot of comfort and good posture I usually push until it is a little uncomfortable and then release a little. Relaxing the shoulders is important too. Now the chest is open and the lungs can fill comfortably.

But that “pull in the tummy” part is not the best for good full breaths. Singers know this and sing from their bellies. But I’m not talking about holding that note forever, so just a gentle rise and fall of the belly is the goal. If you can, take a few minutes to watch a baby breathe. If not try to watch a cat or dog. Watch the belly rise and fall. We should still breathe like babies do.

I find lying on the floor with your hands gently on the belly is the best way to practice belly breathing. A bed or couch will do though. With your hands on your belly you can close your eyes and feel the rise and fall. The idea is to just let the belly fill and then the chest. If you are lying down you are less likely to contort the body to make this happen. Then let the air out gently and slowly but naturally. I practiced on the floor many times before it felt natural. This is the best way to breathe all the time but is important for any energy work like qigong, yoga and tai chi or for stretching, exercise and meditation.

It is so relaxing and healthy getting all that oxygen.

Here is a link to some fun breathing exercises from Dr Weil. I have used the relaxing breath technique before but have gotten out of the habit. I’m going to start again. I forgot how effective it is.

There is also an eight minute video if you want more on the relaxing breath.

10 thoughts on “Breath and Breathing

  1. Mahalo for sharing the breathing exercises and for sharing how important breathing correctly is. Funny how we need to relearn things as we go, and to break bad habits.

  2. This was so interesting and information. it is amazing what bad posture can do to our bodies, my shoulders roll forward now from years of being bent over a desk for long hours. I used to have extremely good posture, straight up and my shoulders were aligned properly. Every single trainer I’ve had has noticed immediately that I have a desk job. I’ve been trying to be more mindful and these are good tips.

    1. Emotions can make you fold in too. Have you tried one of those ball seats? Also try setting a timer for every half hour and stand up, turn around, align yourself and breathe.

    1. It is difficult to keep up a practice of breathing exercises, but I found that from practicing a little while lying down and following with my qigong over time I changed the way I breathe almost all the time. When I get tense I seem to revert to more shallow breathing.

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