The foundation of any meditation practice is breathing.  Unfortunately, most of us breathe incorrectly and miss out on the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of breathing.

The vast majority of people are shallow breathers; meaning they breathe into the top third of their lungs rather than using their full lung capacity.

You know you are a shallow breather when you take a deep breath and you have to suck in your belly and puff out your chest.  This happens because the muscles between your ribs are inflexible making it uncomfortable to breathe deeply and naturally.

Deep breathers breathe so that their belly’s rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale.

The 3 benefits of deep breathing: 

1. Deep breathing pushes the diaphragm down allowing you to access the bottoms of your lungs where you have the most capacity.

2. Oxygen is what we need to convert food into energy.  The deeper and more efficient your breathing, the better your metabolism, and the more calories you burn.

3. Deep diaphragmatic breathing reduces stress and anxiety and can help lower high blood pressure.

Try This:

1. Lay on your back, close your eyes, and place your hands on your belly.

2. Slowly inhale through your nose until your belly rises and then let your belly fall on the exhale.

3. Do this 10 times.

If you are a shallow breather, trying to breath deeply will feel uncomfortable and even unnatural to you.  This simple practice will help to make your rib cage more flexible and it will help to restore your body’s natural respiratory rhythm.

Photo Credit: Mike Kotsch