Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing is practiced by enhancing the action of the diaphragm and minimizing the action of rib cage.
The diaphragm is a domed sheet of muscle that separates the lungs from the abdominal cavity and, when functioning correctly, promotes the most efficient type of breathing.
During inhalation the diaphragm moves downward, pushing the abdominal content downward and outward. During exhalation the diaphragm moves upward and the abdominal contents move inward.
Movement of the diaphragm signifies that the lower lobes of the lungs are being utilized. The proper use of the diaphragm causes equal expansion of the alveoli, improves lymphatic drainage from basal part of lungs , massages the liver, stomach, intestine and other organs that lie immediately beneath it, expert a positive effect on the cardiac function and coronary supply, and improves oxygenation of the blood and circulation.
Steps to do Abdomen (Diaphragmatic)Breathing:
- Lie in shavasana and relax the whole body.
- Place the right hand on the abdomen just above the navel and the left hand over the center of the chest.
- To practice abdominal breathing, feel as though you are drawing the energy and breath in and out directly through the navel.
- The right hand will move up with inhalation and down with exhalation.
- Let the abdomen relax. Do not try to force the movement in any way.
- Do not expand the chest or move the shoulders.
- Feel the abdomen expanding and contracting.
- Continue breathing slowly and deeply.
- Inhale while expanding the abdomen as much as is comfortable, without expanding the rib cage.
- At the end of the inhalation, the diaphragm will be compressing the abdomen and the navel will be at its highest point.
- On exhalation, the diaphragm moves upward and the abdomen moves downward.
- At the end of the exhalation, the abdomen will be contracted and the navel compressed towards the spine.
- Continue for a few minutes.
- Relax any effort and once again watch the spontaneous breathing pattern.
- Bring the awareness back to observing the physical body as a whole. Be aware of the surrounding and gently open the eyes.