If I asked you what the depth of your breathing is, would you know what that really means?
So often when asked to take a deep breath, many people simply take a big breath at the same depth as a normal breath. Big and deep are often confused as the same thing when actually, they are very different.
If you were to lay flat on the floor and notice your breath, what part of your body would be rising and falling? Is it your chest? or your belly?
Many people only breath into their chest and this is considered a shallow breath as you are not filling the whole area of your lungs. A deep breath is when you fill your lungs all the way down to your belly or diaphragm.
A big breath is when you take in as much air as you can until it almost hurts. Surprisingly, this can be done and still only be a shallow chest breath.
This is one of the easiest ways to practise these types of breathing,
- Lay flat on the floor and place a pile of two or three books on your stomach.
- Then breath in to your chest only.
- Notice how the breathing works. Notice the muscles you are using and what it feels like.
- If the books move or fall, you know you are breathing too deeply.
- Once you have achieved this, move the books to balance on your chest.
- Breath down to fill your belly without moving your chest.
- This time notice how it is different, what different muscles are being used and how it feels different.
- Again, if the books move or fall you know you aren’t breathing deeply enough.
This exercise helps you to gain greater awareness of your body and your breathing.
Once you’ve mastered both of these, take the books off and practice filling both your chest and belly at the same time. This is a deep breath. Filling your entire lungs and using them to their full capacity.
If you can introduce this deep breathing to your everyday life, you will notice changes in yourself. Things become less stressful, you’ll gain a calmer perspective on things and all kinds of other benefits. It’s amazing how this simple breathing technique can change aspects of your life.