Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Meditation for Beginners - Belly Breathing!

I've found that a number of people who come to my hikes or meet me in their physical therapy appt have trouble with breathing or meditation. As babies and dogs are easy to find their happy belly breathing, somehow we adults get challenged with stress and forget how to belly breathe. If it's hard for you to find your belly breath, check out this article from Daily Om.

If you have trouble finding it sitting up, try lying on your back, with your knees bent in "active rest" position, so that you can let gravity help you feel your belly rise on the inhale, and flatten as you exhale. When I first learned to sing in a choir in college, I had lots of trouble figuring out how to not shrug my shoulders on the inhale, and I spent time lying on the floor to find my belly breathing. So, if you get distracted and need to focus on something while looking for your belly breathing, you can pick your favorite slow happy song and that can help you out! My favorite song for this exercise is the chorus from ABBA's "Dancing Queen." It makes people chuckle and yes, when you laugh, you find your belly too! BONUS: The more you use your belly breath, the more you can help waken your abs and tone them. Belly breathing is the easiest way to start to manage your stress and get started on meditation!