Diaphragmatic (Abdominal) (Natural) Breathing...

Test your breathing by placing one hand on the abdomen and one hand on the breastbone. Determine if the abdomen or the upper chest is moving on the inhalation. If your abdomen is moving, you are an abdominal breather. If the breastbone is Moving, your are a chest breather.

Chest breathing is usually accompanied by the shoulders tensing and moving upward. In Chest breathing, secondary muscles are used rather than the primary muscles. The use of these secondary muscles may cause chronic tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck. You may be breathing more than 20,000 breaths each day', a good example of repetitive strain.

Take a few SLOW breaths allowing the abdomen to move out each time you inhale and move in each each you exhale. Practice as often as you can until it becomes natural.

Slow abdominal breathing is also one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. There is a direct connection between the mind and the breath. The slower you breath the calmer your mind.

For further information on common ways people restrict breathing see the following article:

Holding your Breath, by Donna Farhi, Yoga Journal March/April 1996 (available University of Regina Library)

Bonnie Skinner.

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