The diaphragm is a muscle between the bottom of the lungs and the organs in the abdominal cavity. When we inhale, the diaphragm flattens and the lungs open and inflate with fresh air. As we exhale, the diaphragm rises up into an umbrella shape as the lungs release their air and don’t take up as much room. Many of us have a shallow breath. A deep, smooth, diaphragmatic breath also expands the sides of the rib cage on the inhalation.
Many people have developed the habit of breathing primarily through the top part of the chest instead of using the diaphragm and the whole of the lungs. As you can see, there is not as much breathing capacity in the top third of the lungs. Using the whole of the lungs facilitates more oxygen in the blood stream and has a whole range of beneficial effects on our systems and body. Developing this habit is essential for good health and longevity.
We are all born breathing diaphragmatically and relaxation is the key to our return to healthy breathing habits. Begin with the practices here.