Breathe Deeply


 Take a deep breath in… relax. Do it again. How often during the day do you take the the time to do just that? Did you feel a difference in your body when you did? Its something we instinctively do after a crisis. It tells our body it can relax. Trouble is, in these current times our body systems are always in a crisis. Life’s fast pace, always connected, with very little down time keeps our body in a constant state of fight or flight – with that comes shallow breathing. Shallow breathing prevents us from oxygenating our bodies as effectively as we can. Shallow breathing also causes our muscles to be more tense. Shallow breathing, simply put, is not healthy.


Deep breathing is an important part of many modalities and teachings. It is basic to massage, yoga, active isolated stretching, Pilates and the list can go on and on. One important aspect of deep breathing is that it promotes relaxation and calmness. It helps our body get in touch with itself, promoting wellness in each cell.


So then, when your practitioner asks you to take a deep breath, what do they want you to do? Just breathe deeply? Well yes, and no. Whats being asked of you is that you diaphragmatically breathe. What does that mean? It means that you breath deeply, filling up all portions of your lungs – this means the very lowest portions as well as the very highest portions. Both areas are often not used to capacity during normal breathing activity. There are a variety of ways that you can accomplish this diaphragmatic breathing, all involve consciously taking air down deep into your lungs using our diaphram to breathe.


One way of doing diaphragmatic breathing is to consciously think about each breath, how it goes in and how it goes out – how it fills the lower lungs, then the middle lungs, and finally the upper lungs. You want to be able to feel your belly rise as you fill your lower lungs and yet you do not want to fill your belly with air. As you you completely fill your lungs with air notice, how each part of your chest is inflating. Notice how even the tops of your lungs are filling up, that feeling is way up by your shoulders and neck. Now, as you exhale, let your lungs deflate, first emptying the lower and middle of your lungs and finishing with the top portion. Let it completely empty. This may seem forced at first but as you practice it will become natural for you.


Another version of diaphragmatic breath-work is very similar, with a slight variation. Again consciously think about each breath, how it goes in and how it goes out. Again, fill your lower lungs first. This time, as you fill your lower lungs, instead of allowing your belly to rise feel the area in your mid to lower back fill up with air. Your belly may rise some but the intent is to have the lower lungs fill up and fill the area of your back. As you continue to fill your lungs, again notice how the top of your lungs are filling up. Take note of how much more air and capacity you have in your lungs compared with your daily, normal breaths. Notice how nice it feels to expand your chest so much. It is really a stretch for your whole thoracic cavity. Again completely empty your lungs – start with the lower portion, then middle and finally the upper lungs. In both versions, try to inhale though the nose and exhale through the mouth. Be cautious of hyperventilating.


These two version will get you started. Try to put them into practice once or twice or more times during the day. No doubt you will feel refreshed with each breath. Employ them during times of extra pressure and stress. With each breath tell your body its OK to relax. As you practice diaphragmatic breath-work you will naturally increase your everyday breathing patterns. As that increases, no doubt you will have more energy and feel more alert and alive. Many have felt that chronic pain was even decreased as they learned to breath deeper and more fully in a healthier way.


Myo Therapies


The above suggestions are not intended to be used as a substitution for sound advise from your physician.

Myo Therapies disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on this information.