Updated: Feb 10
When I began my mindfulness practice over 12 years ago, I found it relatively easy to sit quietly, to practice witnessing my thoughts, to do yoga, and deepen into my senses. Yet there was one thing I had to trouble with.
I was doing it entirely wrong.
When I learned about belly breathing, I noticed my belly didn’t go out like they were teaching us, but when I breathed in, my belly went went IN!
I was perplexed.
How can you breathe incorrectly?
Isn’t breathing natural??
Isn’t breathing something we don’t need to be taught???
Here I was, learning about mindfulness from some of the most learned of experts in the field, and in order to pass the course, I had to change a basic life skill—my breathing.
It took a while. In fact, it took several weeks of intention and focus to drop my breath down from my chest and my belly.
But, with practice, I eventually got it—I could see my belly rising and falling, and with practice, my mindfulness practice became richer deeper and more fruitful.
Now breathing with my diaphragm is second nature, and breathing remains one of the most important first steps that I teach my clients when we explore mindfulness. I have noticed through the years that my ability to breathe not from my chest but with my belly was not uncommon, actually, but actually more often than not, folks needed to be taught, just like I did.
But just like my experience, when folks breathe through their bellies and not their chests, their ability to deepen into mindful presence improves. It also helps us tap into our biological “breaks”—our parasympathetic nervous system—which helps us slow down and relax. When we have that control, we are able to reduce the impact of stress on our bodies. Less stress is a good thing, right??
Interested in learning how to breathe deeper, engage your breath, and reduce stress? Check out my video and learn about one way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.
Reduce stress today!