Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a type of breathing that centers around using your diaphragm muscles to regulate the inflow and outflow of air into your lungs. It emphasizes taking slow, deep breaths from the abdomen resulting in a very controlled breathing pattern, and it has been proven to induce a state of relaxation.
Shallow breathing, on the other hand, involves taking quick and shallow breaths mainly from the chest. This is often how many people take their breaths, but the impact of this is more widespread than people realize.
First off, shallow breathing doesn’t allow for full lung expansion which means the body isn’t receiving the same amount of oxygen as it would during diaphragmatic breathing. This leads to overall fatigue as a result of reduced oxygen intake.
Second, shallow breathing can directly result in increased anxiety and tension. This is because shallow breathing can trigger a stress response within the body causing the release of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Third, shallow breathing can significantly reduce lung capacity. By contrast, diaphragmatic breathing can increase lung capacity, making efficient breathing less difficult.
Diaphragmatic Breathing and Lung Capacity
Expanding on the increase in lung capacity, diaphragmatic breathing and lung capacity are closely linked. This is due to the fact that larger volumes of air are drawn into the lungs with each breath as you practice and perform the correct breathing patterns.
Improving your lung capacity will positively impact your ability to participate in physical activities without becoming short of breath. It can also help you more efficiently breathe for singing, diving, and other activities that require the full expansion of the lungs.
Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System
The parasympathetic nervous system is the portion of your body responsible for regulating the body’s rest and digest response. By slowing down your breathing via diaphragmatic breathing, this encourages a relaxed state of mind which reduces stress and anxiety. It can also directly lower blood pressure over time and promote emotional and physical relaxation in an effective manner.
Improving Physical Appearance
One unique benefit of diaphragmatic breathing is the positive effects on posture. By forcing you to breathe from the abdomen rather than shallow breaths from the chest, it directly reduces tension in the neck and back areas which leads to improved posture and reduced pain.
Overall, diaphragmatic breathwork has many benefits, from improving respiratory function and posture to reducing stress and anxiety. Learning how to perform it correctly can be immensely beneficial to long-term physical and mental health, and Moksha helps you do just that. Through a guided breathwork app as well as a physical tool, Moksha forces you to pay attention to the way you are breathing and ultimately prevent you from subconsciously practicing shallow breathing.