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Breathe to Rediscover Balance and Serenity: Discover the Power of Conscious Breathing!

Are you ready to discover a world of relaxation and well-being through breathing techniques? In this article, I will guide you through 5 valuable points that will help you understand how breathing can be an extraordinary ally to relax the mind, abdomen, and the entire body comfortably at home or wherever you desire.

Some of my clients have found relief from various conditions simply by learning to breathe more consciously: joint pain, abdominal bloating, headaches, stress, anxiety, insomnia. Learning to understand your body and fully relax is possible just by starting to observe your breath, without making any changes.

1. The Connection Between Breathing and Relaxation

Breathing is a natural act, but we rarely pause to reflect on its relaxing potential. This type of breathing has the power to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the "rest and digest mode," which promotes relaxation of the body and mind. What I invite you to do is observe.

Find a comfortable seated or lying position. The only thing I ask of you is to observe the air entering through your nostrils and follow its path inside you. You may notice it passing through the throat, the windpipe, down to the lungs, which you feel expanding on the sides of the ribcage. The diaphragm, a parachute-shaped muscle just below the ribs, pushes, and the abdomen inflates like a balloon. Then observe how the balloon deflates, the ribs retract, and the air exits through the nostrils. Begin to focus your attention on your breathing and experience how your body gradually relaxes.

You're just observing, yet you'll notice that something happens.

Breath is the only system in our biology that changes just with observation. You might notice that as you observe, your breath naturally slows down and calms. You don't have to do anything else but observe, explore what happens without changing anything.

2. Using the Diaphragm Mindfully

Diaphragmatic breathing is one of the primary techniques that involves the diaphragm, a crucial respiratory muscle located between the chest and the abdomen. Let's explore how to perform deep breaths, allowing the diaphragm to expand and contract. This breathing method facilitates oxygen circulation throughout the body and contributes to overall relaxation.

To feel the diaphragm while you breathe, you can follow these steps:

  • Find a comfortable position: Sit or lie down comfortably with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. You can also place a pillow under your head and knees for added comfort.

  • Position your hands: Place both hands under your ribs, just below the chest. Position your fingers slightly curved, with the fingertips resting on the bottom of the chest and the palms facing upward.

  • Focus on your breath: Begin to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Concentrate on the movement of your breath as it enters and exits your body.

  • Observe the diaphragm in action: As you breathe, feel the movement of the diaphragm with your hands. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle located between the chest and the abdomen. During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, pushing the abdomen outward and allowing the lungs to expand and fill with air. During exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its original position, allowing the lungs to empty.

  • Notice the sensation: As you feel the diaphragm move with your hands, observe the sensation of expansion and contraction in the abdomen and ribs area. You may notice a slight lifting of the hands during inhalation and lowering during exhalation. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply, keeping your hands positioned under your ribs to feel the movement of the diaphragm.

In this way, you will cultivate calmness and awareness: try to relax and remain mindful of your breath without straining. Let your breath flow naturally and effortlessly. This practice can help you develop greater awareness of your breathing and diaphragm movement. Over time, you may notice how deeper and more mindful breathing can help reduce stress, improve relaxation, and promote an overall sense of well-being.

3. The Role of the Abdomen in Breathing

Have you ever realized that the abdomen plays a crucial role in breathing? Indeed, the abdomen is considered the "energy center" of our body.

Learning to relax and let the breath flow into the abdomen promotes a greater sense of calmness and well-being.

When the abdomen is relaxed, the mind also relaxes, creating a state of quietude and inner harmony. Place both hands on the abdomen below the navel, the idea is to see the hands rise and feel them sink into the abdomen due to diaphragmatic breathing.

The hands should exert a gentle pressure to help direct your attention there. In addition to using your hands, you can also use a heavy book, such as an old-fashioned dictionary, or multiple books placed directly on the abdomen. The weight of the books is simply to bring your attention to the abdomen. With each breath, you will see the books rise and fall as if they were on an elevator going up and down. Take three mindful breaths, then rest and repeat for three more rounds.

4. Reduction of Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can be constant companions in everyday life, but the breathing techniques taught during the shiatsu journey can be a powerful ally in facing them. Deep and mindful breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a relaxation and calm response. As you relax during the treatment, your body begins to release accumulated tension, and gradually you will feel the stress dissipate and the anxiety diminish. Now, let me explain how you can reduce stress and anxiety with the 4-8 breathing technique.

The 4-8 breathing technique is a controlled breathing practice that involves regulating the rhythm and duration of the breath. This technique focuses on extending the exhalation compared to the inhalation, promoting relaxation and overall well-being.

Here's how to perform the 4-8 breathing technique:

  • Find a comfortable position: Sit comfortably or lie down on a mat, ensuring that your back is straight and relaxed.

  • Inhalation (4 seconds): Begin by slowly inhaling through your nose, counting to 4. Try to take a deep breath and feel your chest and abdomen expand during inhalation.

  • Exhalation (8 seconds): Next, exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to 8. During exhalation, completely relax your body and empty your lungs completely.

  • Repeat the cycle: Continue to perform this 4-8 breathing cycle for a few minutes or for as long as you wish to dedicate to the practice.

This breathing technique can be particularly helpful for reducing stress and anxiety:

as the prolonged exhalation helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and recovery. Furthermore, by focusing on your breath and distancing your mind from stressful thoughts, you can achieve greater calm and mental clarity. The 4-8 breathing is a simple technique that can be practiced anywhere and anytime you feel stressed, anxious, or simply want to regain a sense of calm and inner well-being.

CAUTION: This type of breathing induces drowsiness and is perfect to practice if you have trouble falling asleep. It should be strictly avoided if you are driving or operating machinery that requires your full attention.

5. Breathing for Energy Rebalancing

The tradition of shiatsu is based on the concept of "Qi" or "life energy." When the flow of energy in the body is blocked or imbalanced, discomfort and pain can arise. Breathing techniques during shiatsu treatment help to unblock and rebalance the energy flow in the body. This promotes greater vitality, well-being, and inner harmony, allowing energy to flow freely and restoring a sense of wholeness.

Square breathing is a mindful breathing technique that involves a regular and balanced rhythm of inhalation, exhalation, and pauses. This practice is named for its square shape, as each phase of breathing is divided into equal-length segments, creating a complete cycle. To perform square breathing, follow these steps:

  • Choose a comfortable position: Find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Ensure you are relaxed and free from distractions around you.

  • Inhalation: Begin by inhaling slowly and deeply through the nose, counting mentally to four. During this process, feel your chest and abdomen expand as your body fills with air.

  • Pause: Once the inhalation is complete, hold your breath for the same count of four. Maintain your breath in a state of suspension, feeling calm and present in the moment.

  • Exhalation: Now gently and fully exhale through the mouth or nose, again counting to four. Gradually release the air from your body, feeling light and relaxed.

  • Pause: After the exhalation, maintain a pause of four counts before beginning the next inhalation. This pause phase allows you to prepare for the next breathing cycle.

Repeat this sequence of square breathing for a few minutes or for as long as you feel comfortable. You can gradually increase the duration of the breathing and pause phases if you feel at ease.

Square breathing is a simple yet powerful practice that can be used at any time of day to reduce stress, calm the mind, and regain a sense of inner peace.

It is particularly helpful during moments of anxiety, tension, or insomnia. Remember to maintain a sense of fluidity and naturalness in your breath. Square breathing is a wonderful technique for reconnecting with your body and finding harmonious balance in your daily life.

Understanding the power of breathing is the first step to taking care of yourself and achieving a psycho-physical balance. The beauty of this practice is that it can be easily integrated into our daily routine without requiring effort or significant changes.

Observe your breath, pay attention to how it flows in and out of your body. Learn about your body through breathing, listening to its signals, and releasing accumulated tensions.

Be kind to yourself, allow yourself time to explore the power of breathing and experience its benefits. Conscious breathing can be the first step towards a more balanced and harmonious life.

Remember that well-being is in your hands and in every breath you take. Start embracing the power of breathing and experience a remarkable transformation in your daily life.

Happy breathing,


P.S.: Discover how breathing helped Fabio with his illness.

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