Breathing through the diaphragm is a skill that should be taught to all of us in school from a very young age. This form of breathing is very beneficial and although it is not the one we learn by instinct (we learn by instinct to breathe from the lungs), mastering it will bring enormous improvements to our lives.
Imagine now for a second that you find yourself in a situation of complete panic, you can also remember a moment of great fear. How was your breathing? Perhaps very fast and agitated, wasn’t it? it was going so fast that you couldn’t even control it and you felt that at any moment you would end up losing control. This is because when we breathe through the lungs, we only manage to produce more and more stress. It is practically impossible to breathe deeply with the lungs in an agitated situation.
Maybe you have been told while going through some problem that you had to take “deep breaths” to recover the calm.Did it ever really work for you? the answer is no, it’s because you were still focused on your lungs.
Fast and effective diaphragmatic breathing provides the ability to relieve stress immediately. For athletes, runners or soloists, it is good to acquire the habit of breathing this way, since it is the only thing that will help them take a large amount of oxygen during their activity, with the benefit of preventing dizziness and nausea. If you are not sure if you are breathing deeply enough, you will soon find out…
What is the Diaphragm?
Talking about theory is not the most fun, but in this case, it is very important that we are clear about what the diaphragm is; in this way we can concentrate on this area and master a little better technique.
Imagine your body for a second as if you were looking inside it. Can you locate your lungs? they are right on your chest in the thoracic box. Now, the diaphragm is just below your lungs. It is a long dome-shaped muscle that contracts rhythmically and continuously, and most of the time involuntarily. At inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and flattens as the chest cavity expands. This contraction creates a vacuum that sucks air into the lungs. On exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes, returns to its dome shape and the air is expelled from the lungs. This information is essential for us to learn to master the technique and find calm and control through breathing.
What is diaphragmatic breathing?
Now, ALL the muscles intervene in the breathing process, the difference between the breathing that we do from the diaphragm and the one that comes from the lungs lies in that in the diaphragm we only use the diaphragm as the main muscle;the other muscles hardly take place.
It is the most effective type of breathing because it consumes less O2 and energy, and gets better ventilation to the base and corners of the lungs, while improving venous return to the heart because the contraction of the diaphragm works like a suction pump.
Why breathing through the diaphragm brings us peace and control?
Breathing properly gives you multiple advantages, you will have more energy, will improve the appearance of your skin and excess tiredness will go away. The technique does not work by magic, the reality is that a series of changes happen in your body when you learn to control the oxygen that enters your body, these changes are what allow you to feel in the clouds.
If you learn to master the technique of controlled breathing through the diaphragm you will reduce the levels of inflammation in the body and completely improve cardiovascular function; this directly influences the improvement of your metabolism. The maximum capacity provided by the lungs in each breath is 6 liters of air, however, after 35 years this begins to decrease. By the 60’s we have 30% less than we had at 30. Sad, but real.
In short, we could say that this is what brings peace to your body:
- You allow your lungs to ventilate and cleanse
- The body’s relaxation response is activated immediately
- You carry a lot of oxygen to the lungs
- Aids transit in the intestines
- Massage your organs
- Stimulates the heart and circulation
- You learn to have control, having control gives you calm
The Diaphragm and Anxiety
Previously we told you, agitated breathing is related to stress and the enemy of many: anxiety. A common situation for people suffering from chronic or acute stress and anxiety is that their alarm zone is activated more steadily than necessary. When we activate our alarm zone we breathe too fast taking too much air. This generates excess oxygen in the blood, as we breathe more oxygen than we spend. It is at this moment that the state of hyperventilation originates, that is to say, a very intense and rapid breathing.
Hyperventilating doesn’t feel pretty at all, you start to feel dizzy, drowning, tachycardia, heat, tingling, blurred vision and or tiredness, even if you have not been in a strong physical practice. Hyperventilating, in short, causes almost all the symptoms that anxious people suffer, and for this reason diaphragmatic breathing is one of the main tools of self-control.
Correct diaphragmatic breathing consists of the following:
To begin with, it is important to become aware of your own breathing, doing so is not so complicated if we take one hand and place it in our chest while the other is placed in the lower part of the belly. If you breathe the first time and your chest is elevated,it means that you are breathing with your lungs; if on the contrary your belly is elevated it means that you are carrying out diaphragmatic breathing.
Some people manage to carry out this type of breathing without employing the techniques, this may or may not be your case; however, it is important to remember that you should not force your body.
Diaphragmatic breathing should be done in the kindest way possible, because if we get full of stress we will be doing the job the other way around. It’s not about holding your breath either.
Now, here’s what you need to know:
- When you are learning to master diaphragmatic breathing, it is best to lie on your back very comfortably, and later you will have the opportunity to do it while walking, standing or sitting.
- Before starting, you should expel the air thoroughly from your lungs a few times, you can make some sighs or exhale through your mouth. The goal is to leave the lungs empty of residual air, which will automatically cause the need to take a deeper breath.
- Once this deep breathing impulse is triggered, diaphragmatic breathing begins by directing the air by inhaling into the abdomen.
- Then you will have to hold the air in your lungs for a few moments, briefly, there is no need for pressure.
- When you need to expel the air, the proper way to do so is by relaxing your belly, it will deflate, and your hands will come down with it.
- It is important that you stay a few moments with your lungs empty, you will feel how you are relaxing, and as soon as you feel the urge to breathe in again, do it deep and slowly refilling your lungs as your abdomen rises.
This exercise can be practiced for as long as you wish. You can use it to relax before going to sleep or to start the day oxygenating fully.
Diaphragmatic breathing and meditation
Breathing has the logical function of oxygenating our cells to keep us alive. However, in spiritual terms the breath has an equally important function in keeping the peace within us. One of these functions is to cleanse the body of negative energies, another is to balance the solar plexus, and the last to leave your body ready to carry out meditation.
The diaphragm is positioned precisely in the area of the solar plexus, exactly between the third and fourth chakra, the latter being responsible for the emotions. It is also the place where the main blood vessels of the body pass, as well as several nerves of the autonomic nervous system, which directly contact the spinal cord and brain.
Absolutely all emotions (some more subtle than others) are perceived in the region of the solar plexus, that is, in the mouth of the stomach. Just behind the lower part of the sternum, where is the third chakra, the chakra of emotions.
In order to cleanse a negative emotion, it is not enough to know how to listen to the solar plexus as the experts in the subject do; it is also necessary to work in certain mismatches of the body that the negative emotions generate. the most frequent of these mismatches is the diaphragmatic spasm, which brings to the body the sensation of anguish and oppression.
Through diaphragmatic breathing we are able to diminish all the muscular tension concentrated in the diaphragm, allowing a subtle pumping to take place over the nerve endings of the solar plexus, and some of the regions of the third and fourth chakras. It is thanks to this small work that our body is able to regulate the negative energies that cause physical and emotional pain. Incredible as it may sound, it is possible to reach a state of calm through this road.
Breathing and health are words that go hand in hand.When we breathe correctly we help ourselves, we help to drain the great blood vessels and we stimulate the nerves of the autonomous system, which are responsible for regulating the visceral dynamics, and the heartbeat.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also useful for educating our body in the digestion of food, as well as for the mind, as this is the best way for the brain’s neurons to oxygenate and function in the most optimal way.
In short, let’s say that keeping track of your breathing is healthy and necessary. You’re probably young now and it feels good, but what you don’t know is that you can always feel a little better, so what do you expect?
Originally Post “Respiración diafragmática o abdominal″
Translated by Oscar Moreno