Belly Breathing (Mind and Lungs)
If you’re hitting a brain fog or panic attack because your boss just reminded you that the deadline is in 2 hours and you haven’t done squat, this is the perfect exercise for you. The belly breathing practice increases oxygen flow throughout the body and calms the nervous system.
What you need:
– A comfortable sitting position
What to do:
1) Sit in a comfortable, upright position and place your hands gently on your thighs. Start by taking a few easy, natural breaths. Gradually slow the breath down but without straining.
2) Now place both hands over your belly, with your middle fingers touching one another at your navel center.
3) Breathe in all the way to your belly so that your belly expands and your fingers spread apart from one another. As you breathe out, the belly draws in and the fingers touch back together.
4) Repeat this belly breathing exercise for another 9 cycles, then return to your natural breathing pattern for another 3 breaths. Notice if your body or your mind feels more relaxed and quieter.
Why this works:
The combination of stress and poor sitting posture can result in inefficient and shallow breathing, leading to decreased oxygen flow in the blood (brain fog, anyone?). Conscious, longer exhales allow stagnant air (carbon dioxide and wastes) in the lower lobes of the lungs to be expelled so that new, fresh air (oxygen and nutrients) can come in. Conscious, deeper inhales allow us to activate the diaphragm, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest). As the diaphragm contracts and pulls down to bring the air in, it pushes against the digestive organs, hence the expansion of the belly. Furthermore, the continuous flow of full, conscious breaths activates efficient blood flow to the brain to help you refocus.
To learn more about me and other cool stuff I offer, visit my website elaineyoga.com and download my free guide, “From Fatigue to Fabulous”—a 7-step booklet to help you implement simple habits in your daily life to increase your energy.
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