Introduction to Breathwork and Diaphragmatic Breathing
Breathwork is all about breathing consciously, with awareness and with intent. Breathwork can be seen as a form of meditation helping to calm the busy mind, and releasing stuck tensions built up over time in your body. Today, people all over the world is using breathwork as a form of therapy and self-healing because breathwork can release unresolved pain, detoxify your nervous system, support mental focus, boost energy levels and nurture your soul.
Breathwork provides a variety of self-healing therapeutic exercise to relieve mental physical and/or emotional tensions. As you progress with your breathwork journey, you will realise that it is more than just an exercise to breath properly or intent.
Benefits of Breathwork
- Gain Control of your mind and body systems
- Develop mental strength and improve physical health
- Become more aware of yourself
- Learn to use the power of the mind
- Create peace within
- Improve mental clarity and focus
- Expand Consciousness
The Goal of Breathwork
- Cleansing and harmonizing all systems to connect with the source
- Using the breath to unblock, cleanse, energise and harmonise the body, mind and emotional systems
- Breathwork can make the physical body strong and cleanse the mind and emotional systems
- Clear the mind and connect with the deeper self
- Breathwork can start to peel off layers of obscure the light of consciousness within ourselves
- Throughout our lives we accumulate a lot of tension and stress
- You are more than flesh and bones. Becoming aware of the deeper layers of your Self.
How to breath properly?
It is important to use the diaphragm to breath properly. The diaphragm is the large muscle sitting just below the lungs (Rib cage). This muscle helps air to move in and out of the lungs. Our everyday breathing is very shallow and we do not use the full capacity of our lungs. Breathing through to the diaphragm is a deep breathing practice that helps to fully engage the whole diaphragm and increase our lung efficiency.
Introducing Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing or sometimes it is referred to as “belly breathing”, engages the stomach (activating the abdominal muscles) and the diaphragm while performing this breathing exercise. In another words, try actively push the diaphragm down towards your pelvis when you inhale. This way, the diaphragmatic breathing allows the lungs to fill up fully.
Breathing should be as natural as possible without any uncomfortable force. Our usual breathing tends to be shallow and does not engage the diaphragm fully. Therefore, consciously performing diaphragmatic breathing will allow you to breath deeper. While breathing, you should feel your abdominal rise and fall as you inhale and exhale. Feel the expansion and stretching feeling in the stomach area instead of just the chest and shoulders (shallow breaths).
How to perform Diaphragmatic Breathing?
There are many ways to perform diaphragmatic breathing. I always believe simpler is better especially in terms of breathing. So here are some simple instructions to get you started with Diaphragmatic breathing:
- Lie down comfortably on a flat surface (You can use a pillow placing under your head or knees, but personally I prefer without them as you might fall asleep easier
- Place one hand your stomach
- Place the other hand on your chest
- Start by exhaling everything
- Inhale slowly through the nose while simultaneously pushing the air towards the stomach area (your abdominal should push outwards and you can feel the movement with your hand)
- Exhale slowly (through the nose and/or mouth) letting your abdominal fall inwards slowly and let gravity do the work! (You should feel your hand fall down slowly back to the starting position)
- Please note that your shoulders and chest should remain still while inhaling and exhaling (Your hand on your chest should not move)
Notes to Remember:
- Once you are comfortable with this breathing exercise, you can try to perform this while sitting upright
- Start by inhaling and exhaling at a rate of 3 seconds. As you get more comfortable with this breathing exercise, you can start to increase the length of your inhale and exhale for a more calming effect (4 seconds inhale and exhale, 5 seconds inhale and exhale and so on)
- Focus on the abdominal and hand movement as you breathe
- Notice your body feels like a balloon expanding when it gets filled up with air and the feeling of a balloon deflating when you exhale
- Continue to remind yourself to relax your shoulders if feel any tension building up
- Perform this exercise continuously for at least 5 to 10 minutes (or until you feel you need to)
Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing
Anxiety and Stress Relief
Why do we experience anxiety and stress? Incorrect breathing could be one reason. Breathing correctly can change how you feel emotionally. Performing deep breathing exercises is a way to turn off your body’s natural response to stress. Especially, as you perform longer breaths into your diaphragm, the body will feel a physical state of calmness and it prolongs as you continue your deep breathing practice.
Healthier Lungs and Heart
Deep breathing can help your lungs because of the full range airflow is in and out of your body (better oxygen exchange in the body). Better flow of air into your body will also support a healthier heart.
In conclusion, remember you can perform diaphragmatic breathing whenever you feel stressed or anxious. Simple deep breathing can help you to feel more relaxed and calm right away. Start off performing this first thing in the morning to start your day fresh. Just like every other skill, the more you practice, the better you will get. Once you are comfortable with deep breathing, feel free to use this technique whenever you feel a bit overwhelmed. And ultimately, you should be subconsciously be doing this throughout the day.
As well as a Personal Trainer and Movement Coach, I recently joined Breathless and trained to be a Certified Breathwork Instructor. I have been practicing breathwork myself for over 5 years. Using all kinds of Pranayama, Wim Hof Method, Rebirthing Breathing techniques etc, I have gained valuable knowledge and experiences where I aim to share these with people to change our current culture for the better, one breathe at a time.
I am starting to rebrand Erthe Life to focus more on movement training, breathing practices and cold exposure training. I will dive deeper into these topics in the future. For now, if you are interested in learning more about breathwork and it's benefits, sign up to our emailing list or contact me for more information.