How to Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing

mbg Contributor By Katherine Leonard, M.S.
mbg Contributor
Katherine Leonard, M.S., is a San Diego-Based Holistic Nutritionist and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Have you ever heard the proverbial phrase, “stop and smell the roses?” Taking time to relax and refocus is a fantastic, age-defiant habit that complements any nourishing lifestyle.

Stress management techniques are absolutely essential for people with high-stress lifestyles. Prolonged stress can lead to fatigue, weakened immunity, higher risk for other diseases, depression, and even insomnia. This is perhaps one of the most important manifestations of the mind-body connection.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to rest, relax, de-stress, and even reduce your blood pressure!

What to do:

Sit upright in a comfortable position. Relax all of your muscles in your neck, arms, shoulders, and legs. Try to clear your mind, freeing yourself from any distracting thoughts. It’s time to focus on yourself, your body, and your breath.

Close your eyes or focus on something in front of you. Place one hand on your abdomen.

Slowly inhale through your nose, relax your abdominal muscles, and allow your abdomen to expand with air, rather than your upper chest. Steadily inhale, counting to 2 or 3.

Hold your breath for 2 seconds.

Then slowly exhale through your mouth, emptying your belly of air. Exhale for longer than you inhaled (ex. 3 seconds breathing in, 6 seconds breathing out). Don’t push yourself; the idea is to relax your body, calm your mind, and regain self-awareness and focus. Over time, you may find that you can inhale more slowly, hold your breath for longer, and exhale more slowly.

Repeat this sequence for a total of 5 minutes.

You should feel calm, focused, composed, and confident you can take on the rest of the day.

How often?

You may need to repeat this exercise once a day or once every waking hour in order for you to feel it’s full healing effects. Regardless of how frequently you do it, diaphragmatic breathing can be a calming element of your nourishing lifestyle.

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