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Sleep Series 1

Breathe with your diaphragm

Breathing is what keeps us alive. And yet so many of us can’t breath right. 

Breathing properly is life

The ability to use your diaphragm IS to breathe properly.
Your diaphragm, like anything else, gets stronger with repetitive use, and the more you use it, the more you’re able to breathe deeper gasps of air.
When breathing with your diaphragm, you’re lowering the possibility of your chest and shoulders rising and falling. Yes, you’re going to have air enter your lungs so there may be a little action of your chest and shoulder rising and falling. However, it should be your abdominal area that expands and contracts. You’re breathing with your stomach when using your diaphragm.

Breathing with your diaphragm has a wide variety of benefits:

  1. Helping regulate your blood flow
  2. Relaxes your mind and body by reducing cortisol (stress hormone)
  3. Allowing more oxygen to enter your brain
  4. Used for proper core bracing technique when exercising
  5. It lowers your heart rate
  6. Lowers blood pressure
  7. Increases your VO2 max allowing you to withstand more intense exercise sessions
  8. It slows your rate of breathing, so you use less energy

We’ve lost touch with our diaphragmatic breathing as we sit a lot more for work, drive more commuting, and relax a lot more for down time. All these conditions affect one thing: the reduction of movement in the ability to expand and contract our abdominal area. It is because there’s little room for our diaphragm to move that we resort to chest and shoulder breathing. As a result, our mental and physical health deteriorates with added stress and a cortisol hormone that simply won’t shut OFF. You’re stressed constantly, you can’t relax, and you can barely breathe without near hyperventilation. 

Summary

  • Breathing through the nose and with your belly is the only way to breathe.
  • Ensure you breathe with your diaphragm at ALL times to help you manage your stress, be relaxed and the best version of yourself.

How can I breathe correctly

If you’ve never breathed with your diaphragm before, here is your chance to try it out.

  1. Begin by getting to the floor and lying on your back.
  2. Relax your body and begin by sucking air through your mouth as if you were sucking in through a straw. Breathe out through your nose. Don’t be afraid to look down and see if your abdominal area is rising and falling.
  3. Once you’ve got the hang of it with your mouth, close it, and try breathing the same way with your nose.
  4. You’ve got that down? Perfect, now with every exhale, try contracting your abdominal area as if Mike Tyson were about to punch you in the stomach (that’s gotta hurt).
  5. That’s it! If you feel your diaphragm doing most of the work, you are certified at breathing properly with your diaphragm. Now don’t forget it because that’s how you’ll be breathing for the rest of your life! You can also try this exercise standing up for a greater challenge.

There is more - Jaw alignment

Jaw alignment changes the structure in your face. The proper combination of diaphragm breathing and jaw alignment is quite important. Too many guys have weak or soft jaws from breathing with their mouths all the time. Their jaws hang low to the ground and the muscles used to chew and keep your mouth closed are overstretched and weak. Their mouths are weak and lazy.  When it comes breathing through their nose, they have a difficult time because they haven’t used that muscle in a long time. If you don’t use it, it’ll get weak and your neuromuscular receptors (muscle-mind connection) actually disappears over time. The muscles turn off in a sense, and this applies to ALL MUSCLES.

Here are simple steps to follow for proper jaw alignment in conjunction with diaphragmatic breathing:

  1. Move your jaw around in your mouth. Really feel it there. Warm it up. Don’t just let it hang with your mouth open.
  2. Push your jaw forward to the front of your face. You should feel a light stretch, even discomfort in the front part of your neck if this is your first time.
  3. Push your entire tongue to the roof of your mouth. Behind the teeth. Don’t push your teeth forward otherwise your body will adapt to that and you’ll have forward facing teeth.
  4. Push your head back so your ears are in alignment with your shoulders. This is proper neck position for a strong neck.
  5. Breathe through your nose and diaphragm and feel the deepness of the air inside you.

That’s it! Now you know how to have a proper alignment and breathe with your diaphragm as every human should. This may seem difficult at first, but continuously put in the reps and like anything else you WILL get stronger at it. I have no doubt about it.

Apply these exercises daily so they become part of your daily routine. Like any new movement your body adapts with time and practice. So keep putting in the reps and you’ll be breathing deeply along with a sharp jawline in no time. 

Apply what you learned in the gym

Everything you have learned above applies to daily life whether you’re standing, sitting, or sleeping. But what about during vigorous exercise?

It is important to calm your heart rate faster in between sets. This will allow you to

  • Able to run longer distances without raising your heart rate too much
  • Workout for longer and more intense workouts
  • Keep your Resting Heart Rate low
  • Go for greater distances or even harder sprints during cardio workouts

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, learning how to breathe with your diaphragm in conjunction with the jaw alignment technique will allow you to enjoy the most of life: being able to breathe normally. For too long people have stressed themselves out physically and mentally due to improper breathing, but no more. Now is the time to get your life back with these simple steps.

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