Deep belly breathing – sometimes called diaphragmatic breathing – helps to ease stress and anxiety and has other physical health benefits too. Below is a guide on how to do this at home and the benefits you can look to gain from consistently bringing this practice into your life.
How to do deep belly breathing
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, then you’ll know that this technique is often used to allow practitioners a chance to create a state of calm, coming into the presence.
But how do you do this at home, on your own? Here are some easy steps:
- Make sure you’re lying down comfortably (this could be on a mat or on your bed) or sitting in a supportive, comfortable chair. Do this in a space that feels safe, so that you can relax and focus on your breathing.
- Close your eyes, to help you focus on your breath.
- Place your left hand over your heart centre and your right hand on your belly. Doing this helps you to keep connected with your flow of breath.
- Slowly begin to inhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of two and exhale for a count of six. This might feel difficult the first few times. If you’re new to this, exhale to a count of four a few times and then increase the exhale length to five and then six counts – up to seven or eight for those who are more experienced. The softening and relaxation comes with the slow exhale.
- Breath in through your nose and exhale through either your nose or your mouth, with a soft gentle breath.
- Repeat this 10 to 20 times, each day.
Belly Breath Benefits
Anyone can do this, at any time – and it’s free! Belly breathing helps to:
– Lower your heart rate and blood pressure
– Decrease any muscle tension
– Increase blood-oxygenation levels
– Improve concentration and focus
– Strengthen the immune system
– Reduces stress hormones
– Activates the body’s relaxation response