Paradoxical Breath

What exactly IS paradoxical breathing?  The way we should be breathing is feeling the diaphragm dip down toward the pelvis on an inhale, and to come up into the rib cage during an exhale.

You might be surprised to know that quite a few people do not breathe this way.  The norm when in times of stress is to shallow breathe, meaning to not fill the lungs to their full capacity.  Given that our population is exposed to stressors all throughout the day: driving in rush-hour, a boss yelling at you or an angry spouse,  you can understand how easily your focus drifts away from something your body should be doing properly anyway.

Breathing with intention helps decrease your sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system from firing.  When the parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system kicks in, the body is able to decrease stress hormones and feel calmer.  By taking 10 deep full purposeful breaths, you can feel a shift.  Give it a try!

  1. Find a place to sit (if possible).
  2. Take a deep breath, feel your belly rise with your inhale.
  3. Exhale slowly, feeling your belly fall with the exhale.
  4. Deepen your inhale with the next breath.
  5. Try to match the length of time your exhale takes, to your inhale.
  6. Repeat 10 times