A woman holding her hands on her chest and breathing deeply

Belly Breathing

Last updated: July 2022

I inhale for 2 seconds through my nose, with my mouth closed, and try my hardest to get the breath deep into my abdomen. No shallow lung breathing is allowed; if I am doing it right, I will see my stomach move in and out.

I hold for a count of four, then slowly exhale that air through pursed lips.

I take longer to exhale than I did for the inhale because I want to release any trapped air that will prevent me from taking in the fresh air.

How to practice belly breathing

I practice this technique several times daily, especially when I am not exercising. I do it while viewing the birds, watching TV, or listening to music, and I can get myself into a meditative state or a feeling of wellness.

Once I have mastered this technique, I can get more mileage from my exercise routine without falling short of breath. I must remember that when exercising, I am always exhaling upon exertion.

The importance of posture when breathing

I start with stretching exercises for my neck, remembering that posture is important. So, sitting up as straight as possible does help.

Taking a deep breath, I accept that breath to my belly and hold it for a few seconds while I turn my head to the left side. Moving my head is the exertion part of the exercise, so I exhale as I move to the left.

Once there, I take another deep breath and move my head to the middle as I exhale. Taking a deep breath, I turn my head to the right and exhale as I move it. I am turning only until I feel a pull, then I stop.

Take your time when doing breathing exercises

When exercising, we mustn’t hurt ourselves and defeat the purpose of the exercise. Stretching should be mild and without pain.

You should be able to go slow enough to pay attention to your breath still. We are not speed-exercising, especially as we begin.

If we go a little slower and pay attention, we should be able to do all stretching exercises, neck, arms, and legs, without becoming short of breath.

Using belly breathing when using stairs

Stairs are the bane of my existence, but I can not avoid them. I live on a raised ranch, so upon entering or exiting, I have seven steps.

In my quest to master these seven steps, I use them for exercise. I start at the bottom with a deep inhale of air into my lungs, and as I lift my foot to go to the next step, I exhale.

Now, both feet are on the same stair. I repeat this seven times to get to the top of the stairs. Then I lean on the railing until my breath returns to normal.

Going down the steps, I take the same care to go slow, exhale as I exert myself, and use deep belly breathing.

So, do you think you could learn to do deep belly breathing?

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