Exercises- Belly Breathing

Let’s get started. For this exercise, it is important to limit any distractions around you and just focus on your breath. 

  1. Make yourself comfortable, either in a standing posture, or seated. If you’re sitting, you can sit in a chair or on the floor. Make sure that you feel balanced, that your legs feel relaxed, and that your back is straight. If you’re sitting in a chair, make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
  2. You can do this around other people, or alone, depending on how much space and time you have available. 
  3. If you are standing, feel the weight of your body through your feet. Notice where you are feeling tension in your body. If you are sitting, observe how the weight of your body feels, on the chair or the floor. 
  4. Place your hands onto your lower belly, with your palms soft and relaxed, fingers facing each other, close to your belly button.
  5. Close your eyes, if you are comfortable doing so. If not, just lower your gaze with a soft focus. 
  6. Breathe through your nose, slowly and naturally, without forcing the breath. Have a sense as you breathe in, that you are drawing the breath down through your ribs and into your belly, so that you begin to feel the movement of your breath under your hands.
  7. As you breathe in, your belly rises under your hands. As you exhale, the belly softens back. 
  8. As you breathe in, see if you can take in the breath to a steady count of three.  One… Two… Three…
  9. As you exhale, try to keep the breath smooth to an easy count of four. One… Two… Three… Four…
  10. Take three more rounds of slow, steady breath like this. In… and out… Notice how you are feeling. In… and out…
  11. See what your thoughts are like now. There may be a sense of your thoughts slowing down. 

How you breathe informs your brain. If you breathe shallow and fast, your brain may begin to gear up for a threat. Slow breaths will calm your stress response. 

  1. Take a few more breaths.
  2. Notice how your body feels. Compare how you are feeling now with how you felt at the beginning of the exercise. 

Repeat this exercise a few times at first and notice how you feel afterwards. When you start intentional breathing exercises like this, it is good to keep them short, around one minute. Over time you can build this up to five, ten, fifteen minutes — or even more. 

Conclusion

 

All done. Breathing is powerful. This is an exercise that can be done anytime  and anywhere. During anxious or difficult situations, focusing on the breath immediately shifts perception, and decreases the stress response.