Every client we work with at Shine has room for improvement with respect to their breathing. Many of them have unconsciously altered their breathing from chronic pain, clothing restraints, stress, or poor posture. Many more have been taught to breath erroneously by well-meaning friends or professionals. Altered breathing can not only hinder healing, but it also induces more stress, anxiety, and painful posture. Try this simple practice to bring your diaphragmatic breathing back into balance:
First, rest in a comfortable position (preferably with your entire body supported, such as in bed or a recliner). Place pillows under your knees to invite your lower back to relax.
Next, place one hand on your breastbone and one hand on your abdomen. Notice what is happening for a few moments. Observe the movement in these areas, sense the quality of the expansion and relaxation as your breath moves in and out. Soften the places that do not need to work (neck, shoulders, face) at this time.
Once you have a sense of the quality of your breath, begin to count the length of your inhale and of your exhale. If there is a pause between them, count that, too. For example, inhale 3 seconds, exhale 4 seconds, pause 2 seconds.
The practice itself is simply continuing to count the length of the inhale, exhale, and pause(s). You may notice that as you relax into this observation, your exhale naturally lengthens and pauses develop between your breaths.
Side effects include: feeling more calm, energized, refreshed, stable, and centered. You may even come to realize that you don't have to "do" anything to breathe... let your breath breathe you.