Try this: Abdominal breathing

This feature and the practice is an excerpt from Unravelling written by Philip M. Greenfield.

Breathing is the most fundamental of all of the mechanical and physiological processes that occur in the body.

Our breath is continuous from our first gasp to our final inhale and is the very first mechanism that becomes disordered in the face of any difficulty.

Detriment to the deep, full and continuous expression of the breath, whether it be through stress, trauma, or unconscious habit, marks the start of a long and uncomfortable spiral toward poor health and unhappiness.

How are you breathing right now?

Are you breathing right now…?

I am often asked…

“if you could give one practice, or offer one piece of advice that would go the furthest toward creating positive change in the state of a person’s health, what would it be?”

Not a single doubt in my heart.

ABDOMINAL BREATHING PRACTICE

Try this.

Lie down on your bed face up. Spend a minute or two just settling down.

Put one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.

Allow all the breath to leave the body.

NOW

Transfer both hands to the belly, and start to focus your attention into the movement of the belly as you breath in and out.

Begin to disallow any movement in the chest as you breath in, and you should find that you get more raising of the belly, which you will be able to feel under your hands.

You are now starting to use the diaphragm muscle more fully.

NOW…

Take a SLOW and medium size breath in (through your nose if possible)

You should feel the movement under your hands as your belly and/or chest rise toward the ceiling.

Breathe out in an unforced way allowing all the breath to gently leave your body – the belly and chest will sink naturally toward the bed.

Slowly repeat the process above a dozen or so times – take plenty of time and notice what’s happening under your hands, especially the hand on your belly.

You may find that your belly movement is quite full, or it may be absent, with all the action going on up in the chest. If there’s not much happening at the belly end, repeat the process above and tune in to the small movement in the belly.

Once you have made a little progress and can feel the movement of the belly under your hands becoming a little more full and responsive, remove your attention from the sensation of your breathing and just rest gently for five minutes.

If you continue with this practice you should find that you are able to take control of the belly filling process to a deeper and deeper extent, the experience being that you are expanding into the lower part of your belly, and into the pelvis. You may also feel that you can expand your abdomen with the breath in al directions like a barrel.

This exercise is definitely best performed whilst lying down – maybe before going to sleep at night. You may only get ten breaths before dropping off! In this case it’s probably best to do the practice earlier in the day (and also do it at night as a-way-of-getting-to-sleep thing)

Unravelling – Letting Go – Getting Well

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Philip’s first book is an accumulation of his experience as a martial artist, osteopath and Core Alignment practitioner. A gentle manual encouraging the reader to reconnect to their ‘response-ability’ the awareness in our bodies that enables us to respond to what is thrown at us in life that is out of our control.

Our degree of success in this world is down to our ability to respond rather than react to situations. Reclaiming the freedom of breathing is the one and only reliable freedom that is available to us.

www.theunravellingbook.com