Wednesday, 3 February 2016

More breathing - abdominally

I have to say that it's come as something as a surprise to me that there's a wrong way and a right way to breathe.  It's not like it's something one was taught in school, it's something you pick up on pretty quickly at birth and, well, just keep doing if you want to not have death looming at you like an oncoming steam train!

I blogged a while ago (years?) about Fiona Agombar's relaxing before getting onto breathing exercises. Then never actually got any further.

Taken from the web cos it was pretty. I know nothing about the site it came from - but they do talk about breathing
 Recently I went a bit wonky spinewise (I may have mentioned this several times already) and inveigeled a very nice man called Paul who is an osteopath to come and see me in my house. He's also a naturopath. I'm not sure which bit of his practice the breathing comes from, but as he's somewhat holistic in approach, his practice probably doesn't have bits.

Anyway. It turns out that if you spent most of your time not moving, like me, your body doesn't work very well. Because the human body was designed to have things like gravity and movement help it to do the things it needs to do to function properly.

It also turns out that I don't use my abdomen, or rather my diaphragm when I breathe. The diaphragm (I may have misunderstood the following technical bits for which I apologise) bisects one's body and by going up and down when you breathe it squishes down organs like the liver and helps them work to process stuff the body doesn't want out into waste product.

So there I was, lying on my sofa bed, the man says, take a deep breath. So I do. Up goes my ribcage, my lungs fill and he says. No.

No? How can this be No? My lungs are burning from such a deep breath that usually doesn't happen!

No. A deep breath in your abdomen not your chest. Several failures later I kind of got the hang of it. As long as I concentrated very hard.

When I'd got the hang of it, he gently hooked his fingers under my ribcage and prodded a bit. Whilst I winced because my skin as an organ doesn't really have an off switch so any touch = pain.

And he told me to practice. As follows:
  • Lie down flat. Comfortably. With knees and arms supported etc.
  • Try and relax (I've done a post on that before, this can be painful!)
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth (or just use your nose).
  • Concentrate on your abdomen rising when you breathe in and falling when you breathe out. That's your diaphragm going up and down. Doing the squishing things it needs to do.
  • If your mind wanders onto other things, like lunch, or the horrible sound of the cat hacking up a fur ball, gently bring it back to listening to yourself breathe. Ignore the clock that suddenly sounds very loud. Listen to yourself breathe in & out.
  • Do that a couple of times a day.
At some stage I will get around to finding out how Yoga lady Fiona Agombar likes one to breathe and why. Maybe next year.....

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