#bemorehuman - Entry no. 6 - Buddha Belly Breath

July 25, 2018

{2 minute read}

 

 I often get quizzed by my clients on how best they can improve their general health. I thought my first few blog posts would address how best to support yourself to obtaining optimum health (alongside starting a course in Postural Alignment Therapy!).

 

These tips are all fairly basic and you may have heard them all before, but they are absolutely crucial parts of 'being a human'. By 'being more human' you will give yourself the best chance of optimum health and happiness.

The inconvenient truth is that, despite the fact we live in cities, wear shoes and use computers, our bodies have not evolved for this artificial life we have created for ourselves and they suffer because of it. 

Whilst human beings are very emotionally complex, we have very simple, physical needs (we are animals after all). There is a big connection between our physical and our emotional health and it is really important we listen to our primal, biological needs.

 

If you aren't feeling healthy and happy, you probably need to 'be more human'.

 

BREATHE

 

 We all breathe right? We breathe every moment of the day. Not something we need to practise or think about? Think again.

To anyone who does yoga, you'll be taught the importance of 'belly breathing'. Belly breathing is our proper and natural way to breathe, but feels so unnatural to many of us. It is when you suck your inward breath into your belly (through your nose) and push your outward breath out with your stomach muscles (envision a bellows and it's the same principle!)

 

Belly breathing allows a full intake of oxygen and full expulsion of carbon dioxide. It sends oxygen around all of our vital organs and works our diaphragm and our abdominal muscles (yes, breathing correctly helps you develop your core and abs!)

Your rib cage/shoulder area should barely move when you are breathing in and out, but so many of us shallow breathe in and out of our chests.

The power of 'belly breathing' is not just physical or physiological, the mental benefits are huge too. Next time you feel anxious or overwhelmed, really focus on sucking your breath in through your nose and into your stomach. You'll find it quite hard to breathe too quickly when belly breathing and will help prevent hyperventilation. Too often when you see someone panicking, you'll see people say "take a deep breath" and the person panicking will breathe into their chest and raise their shoulders at the same time. This won't help calm them down.

I wonder if it is because we generally 'suck our stomachs in' (to look thinner) that we begin to start breathing with our chests. Or, if because we are sat down too much, it becomes easier to breathe into our chests and not our bellies. Whatever the reason, we need to try and break the habit.

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