Beginner’s guide to abdominal breathing

meditation3Abdominal breathing is a type of breathing whereby you breathe into the abdomen and appear to fill it with air.

What actually happens is that instead of breathing so that your lungs force your shoulders upwards, you push your abdominal area outwards as your diaphragm moves downwards.

To perform this type of breathing, you can either sit or stand. Gently close your mouth and breath through the nostrils.

Place your hands on your abdomen and visualise a balloon inside the abdomen. Focus on slowly breathing air in through the nostrils and imagine the air passing through the nostrils, then through the lungs, through the diaphragm and into this balloon, visualising this balloon expanding and being filled with air, all the while pushing your abdomen outwards. You should feel your hands move “back” as they are pushed by the abdomen.

Then visualise this balloon slowly shrinking, gently squeezing the air back up through the diaphragm and out of the nostrils, while slowly drawing the abdomen back in. Your hands will follow the abdomen back to their original position.

You should find that breathing like this for a few minutes has a calming effect. You may also find that you feel more grounded or rooted and can breathe deeper and more slowly. As you perform this, you will also be massaging the organs against each other which will stimulate their function.

If you find it a bit unusual, then keep practising – remember, you used to do it as baby but as we grow up we’re told to pull our stomachs in, stick our chests out and breath into our chest!