A few blogs back we discussed the basics of breathing and how our body should respond to a naturally formed breath. Now that you have been paying closer attention to how your body operates daily when it inhales and exhales, let’s try some exercises to help form even better breathing habits!
There are two things we will do to help improve air function. The first is to STRETCH our breathing muscle so we are able to expand and take in a large amount of air. The second is to STRENGTHEN our muscles so we can have good control and support in the releasing of our air.
Here is an exercise for stretching….
1. Sit on the edge of a chair and lean over, resting your elbows on your knees. Relax your upper body. Don’t stiffen your back. Put one hand on your stomach region underneath your bellybutton.
2. Now squeeze strongly and release all of your air by pulling your stomach muscles in. Squeeze everything out until there is nothing left inside!
3. Now very slowly take air in through your nose and mouth. You should feel your stomach expanding and filling up like a balloon. Take air in until your stomach feels like it will pop. Air should be filling your body from the bottom of your stomach then upwards. Your chest and shoulders should not be moving.
4. Once you are filled up squeeze quickly and strongly again and push all of the air back out. You should feel your muscles contracting when you do this.
Implement this exercise everyday doing 3 to 4 inhales and exhales. Stop when you feel dizzy! As you do this exercise you will feel your stomach muscles being able to expand more! Your body will also start to develop the habit of taking lower, deeper breaths. Put this into your practice routine and watch as your breathing becomes a strong foundation to your notes! Then we will come back to learn how to strengthen those muscles….stay tuned and good luck!