Are you wondering if the title to this week’s Wise Man post is a typo? It’s not! The truth is that in the modern day many people have forgotten how to breathe in the most healthy and relaxed way. The good news is that it’s simple to remind your body to breathe properly so that you can reap all of the relaxing, healthy, and strengthening benefits that come from the perfect breath. We’ve created a simple men’s breathing meditation to help you train your body back into breathing help – and all the benefits come along with it!
What We’re Doing Wrong
Too much time at desks, in cars, and in states of stress cause us to clench up and move our breathing power up. We actually have a tough muscle called a diaphragm right at the bottom of our rib cage. When we breathe properly, this muscle does all the work. But the fact is that many people, men especially, use their shoulder and chest muscles to gasp in breath and pull it shallowly into their lungs.
This improper breathing can elevate stress, prolong anxiety, cut down on proper oxygen circulation, generate fatigue, and otherwise mess with all kinds of our bodies’ most important functions. Training your body to take powerful breaths using the muscles that are meant to do the work will change your life!
How To Breathe
As mentioned above, the proper breathe starts at the diaphragm. The muscle is like a thick parachute that pulls down to draw air deep into your lungs, then moves up to gently push out carbon dioxide. Imagine going all day without relying on your shoulders, chest, or back to force your breathing and how much stress and strain that would remove from your life!
Here’s a simple training to help you find your way back to powerful breathing whenever you take a break or have a few minutes to spare.
- Put one hand on your belly, near your navel, and your other hand on your chest. These will be like bio-feedback mechanisms to help you feel out where action is happening during your breathing.
- Give the first breath away by exhaling slowly and gently. Choose this moment to start fresh with better breathing!
- Gently close your mouth. Inhale slowly through your nose. As you inhale, only the hand on your belly should rise! The hand on your chest should barely move, if at all. Feel the air as though it goes down to your belly and fills it up. If you usually breathe with shoulders and chest, you will actually have the sensation that air is filling up your belly while your diaphragm moves down in ways it normally may not.
- Hold for a few moments and enjoy!
- When it’s time to exhale, slightly open your mouth and breathe out slowly. Again, feel your hand sink down.
- Hold once again for a moment or two – enjoy the relaxation!
- Repeat several times whenever you need a break, a breather, or some extra relaxation! Eventually, with practice, your body will favor this more natural breathing style.
Interesting Breathing Facts
- Many people say that you should take a deep breath to relax, but it’s actually a good, slow exhalation that causes relaxation in the mind and body!
- When you breathe with your diaphragm, it moves down from the bottom of your rib cage with each inhalation and back up again with each exhalation. This process actually gives many of your internal organs a type of massage which helps to increase blood flow, remove tension, and cause relaxation!
- Breathing is linked to mood, stress, and anxiety in ways that might surprise you. When you change your breathing, expect to see some positive changes in other areas of your life as well!
- You take almost 30,000 breaths every day which equals about 10, 500,200 breaths every year! Make them count!
If you have a respiratory disease such as asthma, COPD, allergies, or other breathing challenge – or any health challenge – check with your doctor before starting a breathing meditation program.