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What part of your body moves when you breathe? The chest or the belly? Put one hand on the first and the other on the second and do the test. Most of us, myself included, only move the chest and some do not even that blocking the breath in the throat against all principles of healthy and relaxing breathing. Breathe with the belly it is good for our health and also for our attitude but it is not that simple to do it, less simple than it seems. Fortunately, there are methods that help us to educate the breath and get the air up to the belly, which changes the flow of energy to our full advantage
Breathing with the belly: what it means
Technically when you can breathe while also inflating the belly we are talking about diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is a part of our body, a muscle-tendon lamina that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. She should be involved in the breathing movement unless there are blocks preventing us from doing so. As a child, you usually breathe correctly but then over time you lose the good habit and begin to lock yourself in a chest breath. Why?
There is no particular moment in which we stop involving the belly in our breath, it happens day after day, often due to a style of stressful life in which we do the slalom between family and work problems as well as personal anxieties that are sometimes unconscious and difficult to control. It seems hard to believe but stress makes us stiffen and leads us to breathe mainly with the upper portion of the coasts.
Breathing with the chest: consequences
When we breathe by inflating only the chest, we forget to throw out the air that we have incorporated and we remain in the inhalation block. In a chain there are a series of consequences that affect our muscles and also our energy, as well as the breath. Breathing with the chest only we block the diaphragm, so the accessory muscles have to work in its place. It is an unnatural and harmful movement. The diaphragm is affected because it does not move as it should, the muscles they move too much and get tired.
Among the muscles that manage the consequences of the inspiratory block are the sternocleidomastoid, the scalenes, the small and large pectoral, the great dentate, the great dorsal, the levator scapula and the trapezius. Some of them are connected to the neck if fatigue or become inflamed, can cause severe pain in the neck and acute neck pain. It is quite frequent that it happens because we practically ask for a daily and continuous effort to the muscles which as a rule should be stimulated only in exceptional cases, for one-off physical efforts.
Breathe with the belly: diaphragm
To better understand what it means to breathe with the belly or not, we must better understand the role and position of this part of the body that gives meaning to our breath. Separate the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity and is composed of two domes. The one on the right is connected with the liver while the one on the left with the spleen and stomach. It is difficult to imagine it and it is even more so if we say it has a muscular part and a tendon part, it is grafted both in the lumbar area and in the rib.
In the lumbar region, the right abutment is inserted at the L1- L2- L3- L4 level, while the left abutment is inserted at the L1- L2 level and in some cases reaches up to L3. Here it interacts with the psoas muscle and the square of the loins and its possible blockage can also compromise movements and fluidity of the latter causing what in jargon is called lumbar perlordosis. The parts of the body with which the diagram is connected are not finished. It is also so, through different ligaments, with the heart and the colon, it has orifices through which the aorta, esophagus and inferior vena cava pass. Having said all this now you can imagine what it means to have the blocked diaphragm why we do not breathe with the belly and the benefits that we can derive if we can do it. We will enjoy greater well-being both from a muscular, visceral and emotional point of view. Here are the problems we can solve by working well to breathe deeply.
- breathing problems (asthma, false emphysema)
- problems with the digestive system (indigestion, hiatal hernia, constipation, gastritis)
- dysfunctions related to speech
- gynecological problems (diaphragm / perineum connection)
- circulatory difficulties (it has a fundamental function of pump for venous return)
- lower back pain (insertion of the diaphragm on the lumbar vertebrae)
- pains related to the person's posture
Breathe with the belly: how to do it
Let's start by saying that ten minutes every day is enough for improve our breathing. Let's lie on our back keeping our legs bent and breathe as we are used to
We put one hand on the belly and one on the chest and consciously try to inhale with the nose, inflating only the belly but leaving the chest still. To throw the air out we use the open mouth, deflating the belly. The hands are essential to understand if we are inflating the belly or not, so little are we used to doing it, the ribs must not intervene in breathing.
This exercise should last about 10 minutes otherwise you risk hyperventilating. If we can do it better and better, we will have a feeling of extreme freedom and fluidity, more energy and also less pain or stiffness. Starting from this exercise, there are many other ways to educate us to breathe well but this is the basis of everything and will make you feel a real change in a fair amount of time. It is very relaxing and soothing, it is also good at the end of the day as well as for starting it. Seeing is believing, preferably alone and in silence to better focus on the movement of your muscles.