We all know that breathing is important, but many of us don’t give it much thought. All too often, we get stressed, we stiffen up, and end up breathing high in our chests. This chest breathing or apical breathing can then make us feel more stressed and causes excess tension in our neck and shoulders. Proper diaphragmatic breathing can slow the heart rate and relax the nervous system. Deep breaths also improve our thoracic mobility and increase lymphatic drainage. Slow, rhythmic breathing will help regulate the flow of oxygen and CO2, slow the heart rate easing anxiety and ensure your circulation is carrying the optimum amount of nutrients around the body.
How it’s done
This can be done lying down or sitting. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the entire exercise. Take a slow deep breath (to a count of 4 or more) in through your nose expanding your diaphragm and belly. Fill your abdomen first and then expand into your chest. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds. Your shoulders should not raise up. Exhale to the same count. Repeat for a cycle of 10 breaths or more.