And it’s easier than you think!
The beginning of a New Year is a time to reflect on our self care routine. Diaphragmatic breathing- yes, simply breathing- has all of the following benefits:
What if I told you about a pill that can stimulate your entire immune system, help your lymphatic system flow, aide in bowel movements, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, lower cortisol levels (to promote relaxation), help you fall asleep AND strengthen your core all at the same time?! The bad news is, no such pill exists, however the fantastic news is, all of these benefits can be yours, with simple diaphragmatic breathing!
Diaphragmatic breathing is how we naturally breathed when we were young, before our bad postural habits and life just knocked it out of us. If you have the opportunity to see a baby or toddler breathe, notice the way their entire belly and chest expand, with their neck muscles and shoulders staying relaxed. That’s our goal.
- Start lying down, with your knees bent and head and shoulders on a pillow.
- Think about letting all of the tension out of your abdomen. You may be surprised by how much you hold your belly “in” without even thinking about it.
- Keeping your relaxed belly in mind, start to count how long it takes for you to inhale. With each next inhalation, experiment with trying to lengthen it by a count of one or two.
- You can also count your exhalations. These should be a little bit longer than your inhalations.
- Set a timer and practice for at least 5 minutes. What should naturally happen is as you inhale: your tummy and rib cage expand, and when you exhale: your tummy gently moves in towards your spine. Look at you! You are now breathing like a baby!
Try to do this at least 3 times a day while in the hospital or first home. It’s also a way to stretch “from the inside out,” meaning as you inhale and your ribcage expands, you are stretching the area that had surgery in a very gentle and natural way.
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