What is belly breathing and what physiological impacts does it have?

 What is belly breathing and what physiological impacts does it have?

You can live without food and water for a few days but you cannot live without oxygen for even 3 minutes. Therefore, breathing is not only the key to endurance but also vitality. Through ancient yoga practices, you can control your own physiology. One of the pranayamas having proven benefits is diaphragmatic breathing. It is also known as the belly or abdominal breathing. Before discussing the impact of belly breathing on physiology, you must know what is belly breathing.

Belly breathing: What is it?

Though the name is given belly breathing, the term is a misnomer. You breathe into your lungs and not your belly. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle that helps in breathing. When you inhale or exhale, there is a belly movement that you’ll notice. Your belly moves in and out due to the movement of the diaphragm.

The process is not very tough. You have to lie down with your back with one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. Take slow but deep breaths through your nose and allow the air to flow through your lower abdomen. Do not move the hand from your chest. Keep it in a motionless position. Hold your breath for some time and start exhaling through your mouth. Now the hand on your abdomen should move back to the original position.

Although it sounds really strange, some people do not breathe correctly. The best diaphragmatic breathing symptoms to look out for is if your belly moves in and out while breathing.  In this context, some of the physiological benefits of diaphragmatic breathing are as follows:

  • Respiratory systems work efficiently– When you constantly practice belly breathing, your respiratory system works efficiently and helps easy gas exchange from in and out of your lungs. With poor breathing habits, the gas exchange like oxygen and carbon dioxide cannot go in and out effectively to and from your lungs. It can also cause several short terms and long term health problems. Therefore, diaphragm breathing can enhance overall body health and strength.
  • Helps in pain management– Pain and sufferings take place with an increased amount of stress and depression. Chronic pain and pain is directly linked with one another. With belly breathing, you can easily get relieved from pain and reduce the probability of flares in the long run.
  • Strengthens your diaphragm– When you breathe using the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it strengthens your back muscles, diaphragm, abdominals, and other core muscles. This also builds the body’s capability to withstand high interval cardio sessions.
  • Improves your body posture– To maximize the benefits of belly breathing, it is important to maintain the right posture. Whether you sit or lie down, the posture needs to be straight. With the right posture, all your body organs function efficiently. There’s an overall improvement in your bodily functions like breathing, or digestion. Moreover, you release more hormones making you feel more energized and charged up.

When all the body parts and the organs work together in harmony and co-existence, there’ll be an automatic improvement in your overall health. However, you need to practice this technique regularly to achieve all the benefits. Dedicating 10 minutes of your day is enough for practicing. Once you get into the habit, it’ll become a part of your daily routine. With elongated exhales and regular practice, you can calm anxiety which is one of the leading causes of severe health problems like depression, sleeping disorders, cardiac problems, and digestive disorders. You’ll be able to see the difference within a few weeks of your practice!