Stiffness: The rib cage and surrounding muscles get stiff causing inhalation to become more difficult. Less elasticity and weak muscles leave stale air in the tissues of the lungs and prevents fresh oxygen from reaching the blood stream.
Rapid, Shallow Breathing: This type of breathing, often caused by poor posture and weak or stiff muscles, leads to poor oxygen supply, respiratory disease, sluggishness, or heart disease.
Place your hands palm down on your stomach at the base of the rib cage. (The lungs go that far down. What fills them deeper is the pushing down of the diaphragm. The diaphragm creates a suction which draws air into the lungs. the air is then expelled when the diaphragm pushes up. In this process, the life-giving oxygen fills the lungs and gets into the blood stream for distribution to the cells. Carbon dioxide is expelled from the blood into the about-to-be exhaled breath, thus cleansing the body and blood of waste products.) Lay the palms of your hands on your stomach just below the rib cage, middle fingers barely touching each other, and take a slow deep breath. (As the diaphragm pushes down, the stomach will slightly expand causing the fingertips to separate somewhat.
This movement indicates full use of the lungs, resulting in a truly deep breath rather than the "puffed chest" breath experienced by many as the greatest lung capacity. Chest breathing fills the middle and upper parts of the lungs. Belly breathing is the most efficient method. Infants and small children use only this method until the chest matures. The yoga breath or roll breathing combines belly and chest breathing.
FOR BEST RESULTS, PRACTICE THIS EXERCISE FOR 5 MINUTES.
2. Inhale and, at the same time, relax the belly muscles. Feel as though the belly is filling with air.
3. After filling the belly, keep inhaling. Fill up the middle of your chest. Feel your chest and rib cage expand.
4. Hold the breath in for a moment, then begin to exhale as slowly as possible.
5. As the air is slowly let out, relax your chest and rib cage. Begin to pull your belly in to force out the remaining breath.
6. Close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing.
7. Relax your face and mind.
8. Let everything go.
9. Practice about 5 minutes.
CAUTION !! Especially for older people: Never do panting or shallow breathing except while seated. Hyperventilation may occur. As long as one is seated, hyperventilation will not be a problem because, even if a brief blackout should occur, the body's automatic breathing apparatus will immediately take over.
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