What is belly breathing, also known as abdominal breathing? It's a way to relax and calm the vagus nerve by breathing with the diaphragm instead of the chest. It's used to calm anxious people by practicing slow belly breathing or breathing between 5 and 10 breaths per minute for relaxation and meditation. It's also known as the yoga abdominal breath, Asian breathing, Chinese Qi Gong breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and Xin Huxi Qigong breathing. See, Breathe Deeply to Activate Vagus Nerve - Travel and Health.
By doing abdominal breathing from your diaphragm, you may activate your vagus nerve in a way that may trigger a relaxation response. The calming branch of your sympathetic nervous system turns down the autonomic nervous system somewhat and may help you to relax and enjoy a feeling of calm. Check out the site, What You Need to Know About the Vagus Nerve.
You can begin two ways, say some of the 'masters' of belly breathing
You take a slow, deep breath in and then let your stomach out. Another way is to breathe in from your diaphragm and letting your stomach rise or move up as you breath in, followed by exhaling by letting your abdomen gently fall. Breathing from your diaphragm instead of your upper chest rising and falling also is taught in some types of singing lessons. Belly breathing sometime is used to calm performers who often get stage fright. Check out the site, Breathing Out Stage Fright.
Anxious people sensitive to carbon dioxide sometimes use abdominal breathing for anxiety that uses diaphragmatic breathing to restore the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in the body body. See, Top Breathing Techniques for Anxiety Revealed.
Techniques of diaphragmatic breathing
Belly breathing often is used to correct your body's oxygen/carbon dioxide balance, which in some people is calming. Too much oxygen and too little carbon dioxide and you'll feel agitated and edgy.
For anxious people with a genetic predisposition to get more anxious from too much carbon dioxide in their blood or in the room, can make a normal person tired and sleepy and a carbon dioxide-sensitive people nervous and anxious or panicky. Some people are so sensitive to carbon dioxide that when they get a dental anesthetic that's carbon-based, it causes an acidosis condition in their brain that gives them a panic attack or feelings of anxiety until the anesthetic wears off.
Anxious people may breathe from their chest too rapidly
Anxiety sufferers tend to breath rapidly using their upper chest. This causes overbreathing, which then leads to carbon dioxide depletion. For some anxious people sensitive to changes of carbon dioxide to oxygen ratios in the bloodstream, more anxiety may be caused by hyperventilating, breathing too fast, that is, and ending up with too much oxygen stored-up in the blood.
The result may be feelings of agitation, anxiety, or breathless. So you need to re-balance the oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio in your blood and brain.
Belly breathing also is called Asian breathing because it's used frequently in meditation practices from China, Tibet, and India
Diaphragmatic breathing makes use of breathing in by raising your stomach muscles to breathe instead of just your upper chest . For some this type of slower breathing may correct your breathing and provide the right oxygen/carbon dioxide balance. It's calming and different from shallow rapid breathing that causes more anxiety. Check out the site, Abdominal breathing gives you stress relief and more energy.
How to use belly breathing for relaxation
1 - Lie back flat or sit up straight with one hand on your upper chest and the other on your abdomen. This position often is used in qigong, a traditional Chinese healing exercise for relaxation, meditation, and using energy for a healing ambiance.
2 - Breathe out naturally and slowly. Don't hold your breath.
3 - Inhale naturally and slowly, but don't force your breathing. Let your body breathe.
4 - Exhale slowly and naturally without forcing your breath out or pushing your stomach forward.
5 - Repeat the cycle, each time allowing your breathing to become shallower and slower if you were breathing too deeply before and got dizzy.
6 - Your goal is to let your breath out as your lower hand covering your belly rises when you breathe in and gently falls when you breath out/exhale. This is called diaphragmatic breathing.
Belly breathing is the opposite of upper chest breathing. For a lot of people, there's a calming, relaxing feeling that takes away a lot of anxiety with belly breathing. Also check out the sites, anxiety relaxation techniques and Eliminate Panic Attacks. You don't need to have suffered from anxiety or panic to learn more about belly breathing/abdominal breathing/diaphragmatic breathing for a relaxing meditation session.
Yoga Abdominal BreathUse abdominal breathing can easily lose weightMaster Diaphragmatic Breathing And Abdominal Breathing To Improve Your VoiceAnxiety Relaxation Techniques - An Abdominal Breathing Technique For RelaxationBreathing ExercisesTake a Deep Breath - Teaching the Inhalation for SingingXin Huxi Qigong Part 3 - Chang Bao Qi Center Breathing for Increasing Your Abundance of Qi