When your energy is starting to flag and you’re thinking about
having another cup of coffee, consider doing some fast belly breathing
instead. A few rounds of this breathing technique will wake up your
mind and energize your whole body – and without taxing your adrenals or
wearing down your nervous system.
When you’re feeling stressed out, fast belly breathing can help you
de-stress. It’s especially good at relieving the tension that
accumulates in your chest and makes it harder for you to breathe.
When your sinuses are clogged, fast belly breathing can help to clear them out so you can breath more easily and efficiently.
And if you’re just a little constipated, fast belly breathing can help to move things along.
Fast belly breathing involves taking short rapid breaths through your nose, with an emphasis on the exhalation. When you exhale, you push the air out forcefully by pulling your belly in, and then you allow the inhalation to happen on its own, without effort.
To prepare for fast belly breathing, place your hands on your belly and
take a couple of slow deep breaths in and out, feeling the movement of
your belly as it rises with each inhalation and falls with each
exhalation. Be sure to keep your mouth closed the whole time so that
you’re both inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Keeping your mouth closed, inhale deeply expanding your belly,
and then quickly pull your belly in, pushing the air out. Let the air
flow back in, and again pull in the belly, pushing the air out. Let the
air flow back in, and again pull in the belly, pushing the air out. Let
the air flow back in, and again pull in the belly, pushing the air out.
Do that four more times – for a total of eight breaths in a row – and then take a slow deep breath in and out.
That’s one round of fast belly breathing.
Try doing 4 rounds in a row and see how you feel.
When you’re first learning fast belly breathing, you’ll probably do it more slowly (about 1 inhalation/exhalation per second). With practice you’ll be able to speed it up considerably.
Also with practice, you
can increase the number of rounds you do before taking a slow deep
breath. I (Jan) like to do fast belly breathing in the morning to help
wake me up. I do 8 rounds in a row, take a couple of deep breaths, and
then repeat that pattern 3 more times.
Fast Belly breathing is different than the other breathing exercises on the site in that it is not silent. The forced exhalations are a bit noisy. So unless the people around you know what you’re doing (or choose to do it with you), you may want privacy when you use it.
If you would like to be guided through it, you can find an audio version of Fast Belly breathing here.