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How to Perform Belly Breathing

Belly breathing.  When I was in Nurse Practitioner school, if someone told me that I would spend a good portion of my time with patients talking about breathing, I probably would have laughed at them.  But here I am, talking about breathing every day.  And now, I’m even blogging about it!


There are so many reasons WHY we should belly breathe.  The research has been pouring in in recent years.  But today, I want to talk about HOW to belly breathe.


You see, belly breathing is different than how you breathe normally.  And if you don’t perform belly breathing correctly, you don’t get the benefits from it.  I always want to get the most out of anything I do.  I imagine you do, too.


Belly breathing.  The actual name is diaphragmatic breathing, but I find that to be a mouthful to say, so I stick with calling it belly breathings.  It gets its name from the way it uses the diaphragm to fully inflate the lungs with air.  This has the effect of pushing the belly outward.



Follow these easy steps:

#1—Rest back.  You can do this lying down or sitting in a chair with your back supported.  Slouching is perfectly acceptable here, as long as you can fully expand your lungs and belly.

#2—Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.  Doing this can help you determine if your belly is moving or if you’re only breathing in your chest.  This is not required when you get good at belly breathing.

#3—Inhale slowly and deeply.  Take as deep of a breath as is comfortable (don’t force it).  Your belly should move outward.

#4—Exhale passively.  Let go of your breath without effort.  No pursed lip breathing.  This is gentle, relaxed.  Your belly should go back down.

#5—Pause.  Don’t take another breath until your body tells you it’s time to breathe again.


There are studies that have shown benefits with belly breathing for as little as 30 seconds several times per day.  Other studies say 10 minutes or 15 minutes all at one time are needed.  


For practical purposes, just start doing it.  Even if it’s just a couple minutes every day, you will have some health benefits from it.  As you continue doing it, you will notice how much better you feel, more relaxed, that you’ll want to start doing it more.


So start belly breathing.  Now would be a good time.  Maybe do it again before bed tonight.  And again for a couple minutes  in the morning while you’re drinking your morning coffee.  Take a couple minutes during your lunch break, or right after you get home from work.  Find what will work for your schedule and start belly breathing.  You’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.

Posted by Karole Beck at 8/1/2018 10:54:00 PM
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