So, how do we belly breathe? I'm glad you asked!
I wanted to start with this because, while there are more advanced breathing practices, they don't do us a lot of good if we aren't already engaging in diaphragmatic breathing.
Why belly breathing?
Deep breaths are proven to stop almost all panic attacks and immediately reduce anxiety! And you can do it anywhere!
How to belly breathe:
-start lying down (it's easiest to feel here)
-Place one palm on your chest and one on your belly, slightly below the belly button
-take one breath in and focus on taking that inhale into the palm on your belly. Try to have your inhale lift that hand
-try to keep the hand on the chest relatively still. It will move, but the hand on the belly is really where we are breathing into
-continue this deep belly breathing until it feels comfortable, take it literally one breath at a time!
-when you find a good flow to the breath, count the length of your inhale. Then aim to match your exhale to that length
-this practice is called equal breathing! it is a grounding and stabilizing breath. (*there is another breath to add on here to ease anxiety, but it's important to start from this grounded state)
-once you get the hang of it, try it sitting up or standing. Hand to belly! Breathe into that palm!
*inhale/exhale through your nose
*this breath may feel odd and slow at first. If you feel lightheaded or like you aren't getting enough air (which you are! Don't worry) stop the breath and return to it at a later time.
*work your way up to 2-5mins of practicing this breath a day
*eventually this breath will become the normal breathing pattern and you'll be more aware of panic/chest breathing and be able to return it to the belly quickly!
image cred: https://www.google.com/search?q=belly+breathing&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=QhVoUeKzEo-o4APv4IGIAw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=667#imgrc=DYEnZsKLF1v-NM%3A%3BPuBuuE2Oks2OGM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.puddlesandriversyoga.com.au%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F10%252FIMG_1695.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.puddlesandriversyoga.com.au%252Fchest-breath-belly-breath%252F%3B1936%3B1936