We hear a lot about diaphragmatic breathing but what is it and am I doing it?
There is a simple test to find out whether you are a belly breather or a chest breather: "watch" (or more likely feel) whether your breath "rises" into your chest or "drops" into your belly as you breathe.
Though this does help us work out what is going on, as a reflection of the actual truth, it is over simplistic as our body can cheekily hide what is going on. Setting out to discover our chest vs belly breathing capabilities, we find it safer to assume there is ALWAYS work to do. This is because, unless you have lived a life free from any emotional or physical challenges, there will ALWAYS be tightness and dysfunction surrounding or interconnected to this area (and therefore always potential to help ourselves capture the deeper effortlessness and efficiency of our amazing human design).
Would you like to try a technique to help tap into deeper layers of belly breathing?
One of the ways to do this is to picture where your diaphragm is (see above), wrap your arms around the area (imagine hugging your arms around the lower portion of your ribs... just above the floating ribs to be exact). Keeping a firm (but loving) hold, try to breathe without your arm-hug stretching open.
If you find this really hard to do, or if your shoulders lift upwards in an effort to help you out, then... GREAT! You have found there is work to be done!
Why is this important?
The problem with anything other than diaphragmatic breathing is how inefficient it is. If you imagine yourself to be like a car, breathing using your "accessory muscles" (or secondary breathing muscles as they are also called) at rest is similar to staying in first gear. And since "effort" creates toxins, we unnecessarily flood ourselves with toxins over long periods of time. When we exercise... particularly something cardio intensive like sprinting or rowing, these secondary muscles will kick in, in part because we need to breathe much rapidly but also because the lower body engages (to keep our insides from falling out) so there is a natural desire to chest breathe. The other benefit here is how exercise clears toxins. The boost to breathing and blood circulation plays a huge part in clearing the extra toxins created, which are missing in quiet breathing.
There are a few specialised techniques we can use to help us use the correct muscles; and a few exercises we can do to ENHANCE and TONE the elusive and immensely important diaphragm muscle. Join us this evening's for our 5th "Simplicity Breathwork" class to help reconnect with your highest and best breathing potential.
Feel free to contact us using our "contact" buttons or message 07703621730 if you would like more information.
Love from the World of Breath team.