A surprising observation I’ve made far too often in my clinical practice, follows that a large majority of the population simply do not know how to breathe.
Incorrect is a strong word to throw around whenever breathing is concerned, so i’ll appropriate that by saying: a lot of people are breathing sub-optimally.
As you read this, I want you for a moment to become very conscious of your on breath.
Direct the entirety of your attention towards the following inhalation and subsequent exhalation. There’s no rush. Take your time.
Deep breath in.
Let it flow out.
Be mindful to this feeling in your body.
Can you sense the soft comforting pressure of air filling your lungs?
Where do you feel it?
Where is the origin?
The answer is not in the chest.
Optimal Scientific Breathing
If you’re still currently bamboozled by the previous exercise and the mystery of the origin of the breath, please, allow me to clarify.
Breathing always starts from the belly.
This is largely due to that thick, powerful muscle nestled underneath you lungs. The diaphragm.
When the diaphragm contracts, it presses and pushes down on the internal digestive organs. It does so in order to make room for the lungs to fully expand above it, not just into the chest cavity, but deeper down in the abdomen.
If we’re unable to fully breathe deep into the body, we’re not getting nearly enough oxygen into the brain and body – which can cause all kinds of neurosis!
A Second Exercise
Place one hand over your belly button. Next place the other on your chest.
Breathe in by pushing against the hand resting on your belly.
The final part of the breath should be felt in the chest as your ribcage gently rises.
A good fraction to remember is that the first 2/3rds of your breathe begins in the belly, and the final third is felt in the chest.
Some of you will come to realise that this is difficult. You will feel restrictions in the belly, which is predicated on your posture. Which again, might be sub-optimal.
Rounded shoulders and sunken chest has an almost crushing effect on our ability to truly expand and breathe fully.
They’re all linked and tied together.
A Gift to Ourselves
When everything comes crashing down around us, I always find peace in coming back to the breath.
It’s the only thing we really can control, it’s our engine and our life force.
A gift we need to prioritise.
Because even after everything that happens.
What else have we really got?
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