The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that forms the floor of the rib cage. It is the most efficient muscle for breathing. But it does SO much for than that it connects your mind to your center. It is the best way to help manage your stress and pain.
Taking a moment to stop, check-in and simply breathe, tells your nervous system that no matter what you are thinking-you are safe. Being present and mindful, by simply breathing, allows your muscles and your mind to come back in sync with each other. Doing this throughout the day can conserve much needed energy, and for those with chronic pain, this can make all of the difference.
Diaphragmatic breathing aides in
✅relaxation of the nervous system therefore reducing pain and inflammation
✅relaxation of all the muscles and organs of the body
✅improving circulation and function of core muscles and tissues
✅improving bowel and bladder function
✅ decreasing stress, anxiety and depression
✅ improving awareness of held muscle tension therefore improving your daily pain control
- Begin by lying down comfortably with knees on the bed.
- Place your hands on the outer portion of your rib cage and a light ankle weight or book on your lower belly.
- INHALE: Breathe slowly through your nose. Allow your waist muscles to relax, feel your ribs widen, drifting your fingertips away from each other. Your ribs expand out and up toward the ceiling NOT up toward your face. The book or weight on your low belly will rise-up toward the ceiling. Your ribs and belly will expand/get bigger because your “container” is filling with air.
- EXHALE: The ribs now fall back in towards the middle of your body, your hands closer in toward each other and the book/weight on your low belly sinks back down toward the bed.
TRY inhale for a SLOW in through your nose for 2-3 count then exhale, through your nose or mouth for a slow 4 to 6 count
- Then one minute of breathing naturally and compare how you feel now vs before you started 5 minutes ago.
- The goal here is not to over think it or try too hard, just breathe and feel, don’t think and judge, be in your body not your mind. Feel the cool air enter your nose and warm air flow out. Feel your ribs and belly rise and fall. No muscle tension required.
- If you feel increased tension in your neck, chest, shoulders then you are trying too hard. Stop, relax, simply Breathe and feel.
- No sucking in the belly at any point
Moment by moment awareness. Objective Observation. No Judgement. No attachment to your thoughts. Simply observe the sensations of the breath. Enjoy.
- Other positions to try:
- Reclined seated
- Hands and Knees
- Side Lie