Take a moment and assess your breath. Where are you breathing? Into your chest? Can you take a deep breath? There are conditions that inhibit our ability to breathe deeply; allergies and asthma being the most common.
Smoking affects the breath. There are more serious respiratory diseases that cause very shallow breathing; COPD, PAH, lung cancer, tuberculosis, etc.
However, the average person who may not have any respiratory ailments can suffer from inhibited diaphragmatic motion and may not even be aware of it.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
It shows up in the body as instability, dysfunctional movement, and worse, chronic pain.
Breathing Exercises to Increase Lung Capacity and More
The average person takes a breath approximately 28,000 times a day.
Sue Hitzmann and The MELT Method teaches how to assess and tap into the Autopilot, an autonomic system of the body that provides overall grounding, support, and stabilization.
Also known as the Neurocore, it is our connective tissue and nervous system with the diaphragm at the centre of it all.
Sue calls the diaphragm “the heartbeat of stability”. For proper whole body grounding, balance, and dynamic stabilization, the diaphragm must function at its most optimal.
Its expansion and contraction, movement and vibration, are constantly sending messages. Not only a muscle of respiration, it stimulates every other organ system in the body.
A great way to re-balance and open up the expression of your diaphragm is with The MELT Method’s 3D Breath Breakdown. Increase your lung capacity and improve your diaphragm’s rhythm and movement with this technique.
Easy to learn, its effects are profound.
This technique can be done seated or lying down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and imagine your torso as a six sided box. Let’s work one dimension at a time.
The first dimension is front and back breath. Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest to define the front of the box. The mat, chair, or ground behind you is the back of the box.
As you take a breath in, allow your inhalation to create space and expansion between your hands and the back of the box.
When you exhale, empty all the air out of your lungs so your next breath is even more expressive. The exhale is just as important as the inhalation. Repeat two more times. Deep in. Deep out.
Now move your hands to your side ribs, one hand on each side of your torso. This is the second dimension, width and the lateral breath. Lightly press into your ribs as you inhale and feel the space and expansion between your hands and between the two sides of your box.
When you exhale, empty all the CO2 out of your lungs. Repeat two more times allowing each breath to create even more space and expansion. Deep in. Deep out.
Now move your hands so that one hand is high on your collar bones, the other low on your pubic bone. This is the third dimension, length and top to bottom breath.
Allow your next inhalation to create more length down your spine as you feel more space between your hands. Exhale all the air out, every drop. Repeat two more times. Deep in. Deep out.
Take your hands away and inhale into all six sides of your torso; front and back, side to side, and top to bottom. Exhale all the air out, every drop. Repeat two more times. Deep in. Deep out.
Notice how your breath has changed. Are you breathing deeper compared to when you first assessed? Practice this technique on a regular basis.
Not only will you improve your lung capacity for energy exchange, but more importantly, you will feel calm, connected, and grounded in everything you do.
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