Diaphragmatic Breathing to Relax

Controlling your breathing with diaphragmatic breathing is a great tool to relax your controlling system of the your body, the Nervous System.

Although the diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle, it is believed that many people have little sensory awareness of it, almost no idea how to engage it more fully, and even how it works. Diaphragmatic breathing can be therapeutic, and with enough practice, can become a standard way of breathing.

To breathe diaphragmatically, or with the diaphragm, one must draw air into the lungs in a way which will expand the stomach and not the chest. It is best to perform these breaths as long, slow intakes of air - allowing the body to absorb all of the inhaled oxygen while simultaneously relaxing the breather.

To do this comfortably, it is often best to loosen tight-fitting pants/belts/skirts, as these can interfere with the body's ability to intake air. While at first one may not feel comfortable expanding the stomach during breathing, diaphragmatic breathing actually fills up the majority of the lungs with oxygen - much more than chest-breathing or shallow breathing.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably, with loose garments.
  2. Put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose or through pursed lips (to slow down the intake of breath).
  4. As you inhale, inhale to the count of 4 and feel your stomach expand with your hand.
  5. Slowly exhale to the count of 6 through pursed lips to regulate the release of air. Rest and repeat. Dr. Tammy recommends starting with 10 slow breaths per day or implementing this technique whenever you need to relax.