Common steps and sub-activities
Belly breathing also known as diaphragm breathing is a method of controlled breathing. It is the act of breathing done by expanding one's stomach and thereby allowing the diaphragm to move down creating more room for the lungs to expand. While at first the process may seem odd and somewhat inefficient, belly breathing actually fills up the majority of the lungs with oxygen – much more than chest-breathing or shallow breathing.
- To breathe diaphragmatically, or with the diaphragm, one must thus draw air into the lungs in a way which will expand the stomach and not the chest. It is best to perform these breaths as long, slow intakes of air – allowing the body to absorb all of the inhaled oxygen.
- Put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
- Gently inhale through your nose (to moderate the intake of breath).
- As you inhale, push your belly/ stomach out and feel your stomach expand with your hand. The diaphragm muscle must be contracted and pulled downwards. This in technical terms ‘increases the thoracic volume’. At the same time you have to let your rib cage expand, but don’t force it outwards, concentrate only on the diaphragm.
- Exhale through pursed lips to regulate the release of air while squeezing your belly/ tummy. The most significant, therapeutic aspect of this breathing is the exhalation. The exhalation alerts the body that it can relax.
- Rest and repeat.
Practice until the entire process becomes smooth and the entire body remains relaxed.
This also helps make the tummy muscles much stronger so that you can do the diaphragm lock.
This may also help anyone who wishes to become pregnant prepare for the pregnancy, it has also been used to train golfers.
It works via both an increase in oxygen supply thus improving oxygen supply to the cells, but more importantly via the vagus nerve and the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Thus its principal mode of action is via the diaphragm again. In effect it is using stimulation of the trigger points.
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