A technique to teach your body to breathe right again.
Once upon a time, I was at work, as usual, emptying boxes and being nice to clients. All of a sudden, a sharp pain around my sternum made me bend in half, almost unable to breathe. I went home panicking crying a lot little. I took an appointment for the next day with my osteopath. While I was lying on her table, she asked me to take a deep breath. Which I did, it seemed. She asked me again, telling me to FULLY breathe. Which I did, it seemed. She asked again, and I did, it seemed. “ You’re breathing wrong ”, she said. Wait what?? How could I accomplished such an innate task WRONG!?!? Then, I remembered a “ very clever ” decision I consciously took, years ago : to keep my 6-pack (lolll) tight and not letting my belly inflate at all times, even when inhaling, to appear leaner. Yup. My body image was (and honestly, as much as I hate admitting it, still kinda is) so concerning to me, that I changed my natural breathing pattern in a (oh so poor) attempt to make me feel better. And it was now causing me back problems!
The first anti-stress trick I would like to share with you will appear to be so simple, that you might laugh ; it is to #breathe. Yup, as silly as that : inhaling air into your (hopefully) pink lungs and exhaling the CO2 excess.
Is it though ; silly?
After all, breathing is what is keeping us alive. It is what nourishes our cells and allows our body to maintain a healthy balance. When facing or perceiving #stress, our body reacts in many ways : sweaty palms and heartbeat accelerating, just to name two. The way we breathe is also very much affected by stress, which is making the respiration shallower and faster. Have you notice though, how your breathing is doing these days? Are you really, fully breathing, or are you breathing only through your chest.
The number one trend of the XXI century in terms of breathing, looks like it is to inhale air only to the surface, the chest, inducing a state of constant stress to our poor, fragile being. Maybe it is because we never payed attention to that vital action or maybe it is because we trained ourselves to always have our bellies tucked in, even when we breathe (hi). Panic attacks, sense of nervousness, poor oxygen circulation and shoulders and upper back tensions are just few of the undesired side effects of shallow, stressed-out breathing.
The three part breath
A solution to that could be, I think, to become aware of our breathing pattern and practice intentional full breathes by using the three part breath. This technique is one of my favorite, and I very often execute it as it calms the nervous system and induce a sense of balance and peace, while training my body to breathe in a healthier way. Note that if ever you start feeling light headed, bad or weird while testing it, just come back to your regular breath. Don’t force it.
1- Lay comfortably on your back, or sit in your favorite meditation position.
2- Close your eyes.
3- Place your right hand on your belly and your left on your heart.
4- Inhale through your nose and exhale fully through your mouth, just to relax.
5- On your next inhale, inflate your belly first, then the upper part of your abdomen (under the breast line) and finally, your chest.
6- Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds.
7- On the exhale, deflate your chest first, then your upper abdomen and finally your belly.
8- Repeat as long as is feels good to you.
9- Feel your hands gently moving with each breath.
10- Come back to your regular breathing pattern and notice the effects.
How are you feeling? What are you feeling?