Abdominal Breathing Breathes Wellness – Part 2
Posted on: January 31, 2019.

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A blog I read through talks about the difference between “Air” and “Breath”. What is the distinction? ‘Air” is the invisible gaseous substance that moves in and out of the lungs through the bronchial tree during breathing (to be precise) while ‘Breath’, according to Leslie Kaminoff, “can mean any type of movement that accompanies respiration”.

Even though “Air” doesn’t move into the belly when we breathe, the ‘Breath’ does. This just goes to show hoe important precision of language is when we read and understand a concept. Okay, that clears it up somewhat but ‘Why’ exactly does the belly move when we breathe?

Without going into the anatomy of it, we just summarize: the diaphragm’s main function is to draw air into the lungs by increasing the volume of the thoracic cavity. It does this in two ways:

    1)     The diaphragm lifts the base of the rib cage and sternum, expanding the rib cage in the front, sides and back, creating a ‘chest breath’

    2)     The diaphragm presses downward on the abdominal cavity, which bulges forward, creating a ‘belly breath’.

One of the worst things to happen to the present scenario is the shallow, short nature of our breathing. We do not inhale enough air to fill our lungs’ capacity and often hold our breath outright. This type of shallow breathing leads to stress, causing us to lose emotional balance in tight situations, and adds burden to our personal, emotional upheavals, day in and day out. The human body is said to be built to use our abdomen to inhale to the full capacity of our lungs, and yet we rarely do it. Sadly, thus, abdominal breathing has a very faded awareness amongst us.

Abdominal breathing is only normal breathing. To clarify this point, let us try to observe an infant sleep in a crib. As the child, watch his abdomen move in and out, slowly and rhythmically. We wouldn’t see the infant’s chest, clavicle, or shoulder move as he breathes. But all this changes as we get older, mature physically. That is because social conditioning, stress, and tension inhibit our true breathing pattern that was happening innately as we were infants.

Thus abdominal or Pranic Healing (as it is also called) is normal according to ancient, esoteric spiritual traditions. This has been the way of life, embedded in it, the teaching that this type of breathing is the prime key to personal well-being and contributes largely to the overall wellness factor of an individual’s psyche. Let’s start with it right away!

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