Meditation Articles Series

Abdominal Breathing

Did you know that the way you breathe directly affects the levels of tension in your body? Breathing is so automatic that people are hardly ever conscious of how they are breathing. Throughout the guided meditations on Fragrant Heart there is always some focus on the breath. I spent years practising, and teaching a meditation technique which simply focuses on watching the breath. You can use this technique, In Learn to Meditate Over Five Days by subscribing to Fragrant Heart. Watching the breath is simply that, just observing the breath how it comes, and how it goes. In this blog, I would like to specifically concentrate on a particular form of breathing, called Abdominal Breathing. This is our natural form of breathing, and once mastered, or rather relearnt you will become more conscious of how you are breathing throughout the day. You抣l know when you抮e breathing shallowly simply because you won抰 feel as good as when you are breathing into your belly.

What are the Benefits of Abdominal Breathing?

Abdominal Breathing:

  1. Reduces body tension and therefore enables your body to relax.
  2. Increases oxygen supply to your brain and muscles.
  3. Helps excrete toxins from your body more effectively via the lungs.
  4. Improves concentration.
  5. Eases you into your sitting meditation practice more quickly.
  6. Increases your lung capacity enabling you to breathe more deeply.

Check your Breathing Right Now

Right now check out how you are breathing. Is it deep down in your belly, or somewhere up in your chest? Just stop reading, and be aware of how you are breathing for a few seconds.

How to Do Abdominal Breathing

  1. Place one hand on your abdomen just below your rib cage.
  2. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, breathing the breath all the way down into your belly. Inhale to the count of four; 1234 You抣l notice your hand will rise as you breathe into your belly. Your chest won抰 move as much.
  3. When you have taken a full deep breath, pause for a couple of seconds, and then slowly breathe out through your nose, or your mouth to the count of four; 1234... and pause for a few seconds before breathing in again. Sense your body relaxing as you do this.
  4. Take ten full abdominal breaths. By counting, you will slow the breath down, and you will find that your breathing will become more flowing, regular, and rhythmical. If you start to feel light-headed at anytime, stop for half a minute and then start again. Your body is simply not used to breathing in more oxygen so don抰 worry. This will soon pass.
  5. When you are breathing easily with one set of ten abdominal breaths, then increase to two or three sets.

You could do abdominal breathing for five minutes every day by itself, or at the start of your meditation practice. The wonderful thing about the breath is that you take it wherever you go. When life gets hectic for you, and you start to feel overwhelmed and you抮e back to the old habit of shallow breathing, then remember to breathe into your belly. You will feel all stress and tension melting away.

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