‘Just take a deep breath and get on with it!’
Have you ever heard that before? Maybe someone has said it to you, or maybe you have said it to someone else. If you have, then you probably know that breathing is a very effective tool, and not just because it keeps us alive… The only problem is, that most of us aren’t breathing properly.
Don’t quite get how we can’t breathe ‘properly’? Stay with me and I will explain.
I want you to try something when you go to bed tonight. Stand up with your hand on your tummy and breathe. Don’t try do anything fancy, just notice how you breathe naturally. Does your tummy go in when you breathe in? Does it even move, or is it your chest that does? Do your shoulders rise?
Now, lie down on your bed and put your hand on your tummy again. Notice now how you breathe. What is moving and how?
You should have noticed when you are lying down that your tummy goes up when you breathe in and down when you breathe out. The shoulders and chest don’t really move. This is the proper way to breathe.
Why is it so important how we breathe? Well, since you asked… The way you breathe affects your body in so many different ways. It can affect your stamina and ability to do sport, it can affect your posture, it can affect your abs (yes, it can help you get better ones more easily), it can affect the amount of toxins that stay in the body and the amount of oxygen that is taken in, too. It can have a very negative affect on women who have ever been pregnant or given birth by making the tummy rounder, causing organs to move down and causing problems with incontinence! It is so important how we breathe.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help you on your way. To start off I’ll give you just a little exercise to get you started on improving how you breathe and throughout the month, I will give you some more information with more ways to improve! Ready?
Going back to the little test that you did above, lie on your back and breathe. You can put something slightly heavy on your stomach if you want (not too heavy though!) or just rest your hands on there. Take some deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice the movement. Do this 5 times and then stand up (slowly, you might be a little relaxed!) and do the same standing up, except this time you will really have to think about it. Close your eyes and visualise you tummy expanding as you breathe in through your nose and then contracting as you breathe out through your mouth, but be careful to keep those shoulders and that chest still. Do this 5 times, too. And if you get a chance to just practice during the day you’ll find it not only helps with your overall breathing but also stress, oxygen in-take and toxin out take… But more on that later!