Diaphragmatic Breathing and Exercise
As if the physical advantages of exercise were not enough, its connection to the ways we think and feel about ourselves is remarkable. As shown in Wellness and Breathing, the crucial link between the mind and body is the breath - the life force. Encouraging fuller breathing through exercise is one of the most dynamic ways of increasing overall vitality. Many disciplines, such as yoga or the martial arts, focus on the breath - especially abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing - as a core factor in reconnecting the mind, body, and spirit.
The key to diaphragmatic breathing is simple: as you inhale, expand your abdomen; as you exhale, contract your abdomen.
- Lie on your back with your legs bent, feet close to your buttocks, and eyes closed. Inhale, expanding the abdomen while keeping the chest still.
- Exhale, pulling in the abdomen and drawing it back to the spine.
- Repeat five times, following this ratio:
- Inhale: five seconds (expand abdomen)
- Exhale: ten seconds (contract abdomen).
Finding a regular discipline that reinforces this type of breathing is a vital part of a wellness program.