Abdominal Breathing. Aka The Belly Breath

Breath is one of the foundational tools of martial arts, yoga, Tantra and other wellbeing practices. I frequently use this breathing technique myself and introduce this to clients across all areas of my work.

 

Why?

  • Because the breath is considered to be one of our primary life force energies, without it we would die.
  • Most of us don't even think about our breath, after all why would we, it's something that the body does for us automatically; it's unconscious because we don’t have to think about it.
  • When we do start to think about our breath; to become more conscious of it, we can begin to introduce and experiment with new ways of breathing.

 

Introducing the Belly Breath:

  • The purpose is to get conscious with the breath and practice the art of altering the state of the body by consciously switching from Sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system; from the one I describe as ‘survival’ to the one I describe as ‘joyful’.
  • It is useful to have this breathing technique embedded into your body – create a helpful habit - so that like tying your shoe laces or driving, you’ll be able to do it without thinking.

 

The Belly Breath can help you to:

  • Occupy your busy mind and manage distractions
  • Bring your focus back to you and what's happening in your body in real time
  • Allow more presence with what is in the here and now
  • Create the ability to relax and deal with difficult situations more calmly
  • Have more choice around your nervous system response's to different situations
  • Improve your quality of sleep

 

How to do The Belly Breath

  • Begin by moving your body, you may want to wriggle your body, stand up, move or stretch before settling into a comfortable position
  • You may be lying down, standing or sitting; ideally where your back is supported in an upright position, your arms are resting gently and shoulders relaxed
  • It can be helpful to do this with your eyes closed
  • Bring your attention to your body
  • Notice any areas of discomfort or tension. Perhaps moving your body to ease these sensations.
  • Invite those areas of the body to soften, particularly the belly, shoulders and neck
  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 5
  • Imagine that you are bringing that breath into your softened belly
  • Breathe slowly out through your mouth for a count of 7
  • Let all of the breath leave the body before taking your next breath
  • Some people find it useful to imagine that you are breathing in everything that you need and breathing out everything you don’t need
  • Repeat this for 6-8 times or for as long as feels right for you, allow your breathing to return to its natural rhythm
  • When complete, open your eyes to a soft gaze
  • Gently and slowly turn your head from side to side; slowly noticing the colours, shapes and textures of your surroundings
  • Open your eyes fully and bring your attention to you in the space around you
  • Notice what difference, if any, is in your mind and in your body
  • You may want to stretch and move your body before continuing with your day
  • Do this 4 to 5 times every day and especially at times when you noticing you are tense, anxious, and ‘busy’

Enjoy!

 

Please do not undertake this activity when you are driving, operating machinery or other task where your safety and wellbeing or the safety and wellbeing of others can be compromised – Thank you

 

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