Squeeze Breathe Exercises for Asthma - Quieting, Calming, Centering, Energizing Breathing Techniques

Firstly see the lungs below and notice how they are mostly in the sides and back and not very much in the front.



This means that it is mostly pointless to breathe into the high chest because there is by comparison to the lower lobes very little lung volume there. 

The mid-chest and lower rear lobes of the lungs are where the major lung volume is. Not the belly area. The back of the trunk from mid-back to waist is where the lower lobes allow for the most expansion. This is not exactly true but for now just imagine the lungs wrap around your chest, sides, and back from the armpits to right above the bottom of your second to the lowest rib. This is like a very thick, short-waisted vest hanging from your collarbones.

Quieting, Calming, Centering and Energizing Breathing

    Supported by a small round pillow as shown (available at Relax the Back Stores nationwide)  or a NADA Chair,  sit near the edge of a fairly hard-surfaced chair, on a stool or on the arm of a couch, with your feet flat on the floor, or stand. Have an erect but not a stiff posture. Be “tallest” with your chin raised to slightly above the horizon. If you stand, bend your knees slightly so as not to lock them.

Let your tongue lightly touch the roof or your mouth and your jaw relax. Relax your belly.  Let it hang down. Let go of any fear of  having a "pot belly" or not having "washboard abs".

Place your thumbs over your kidneys (below your back ribs and above your pelvis). Wrap your fingers around your sides, towards your belly button.

 

 

We will now practice the Squeeze and Breathe in three different breathing timing patterns. Experiment with all three and do the one that works best for you.

    1) Squeeze gently, then as you nose-breathe in with a long, slow, deep breath counting slowly to 4, simultaneously feel how your squeezed fingers are being forced apart by the pressure of your in-breath into your belly, back, and sides, as if they were opening against their will.
In other words, use the force of your breathing-in to widen the gently tightened space between your fingers and thumbs, as they open against their attempt to stay closed. Practice this for four deep in and 8 count out breaths. Make sure you slow the exhale down instead of extending it by squeezing your belly muscles inward which will over time cause excessive tension in your belly area. . You can follow the breathing cycle of the animation shown here for a timing reference. 



In any event, make sure the exhale at least twice as long as the inhale. It may work better for you to use silent number counting (one thousand one, one thousand two, etc.) to gauge that. Again, just make sure the exhale is at least twice as long as the inhale. Within reason, the longer the better.

Again, NEVER tighten the belly to extend the exhale. Simply slow the speed of the out-breath. ALWAYS keep the belly relaxed.

    Now, using the animation or a number count or both, take ten complete breaths this way, in and out, making sure to squeeze then breathe in and slowly exhale.

    How did that feel? Relaxing.  Calming.  Energizing? If it did, then do it five to ten more times in a row and repeat every hour. If you experience dizziness, spaciness, lightheadedness or confusion it probably means you are breathing too much into the high chest. Try to compensate by squeezing harder and if that does not work, recommence in a minute or two after the energy has subsided or integrated within you. Or stop and continue your day while wearing the BVS and try it again tomorrow.

    It is a temporary approach but if it helped you get or stay calm, even just a little bit, then you will want to use the techniques and exercises in our Fundamentals of Optimal Breathing Kit video program at http://www.breathing.com/deepest-calm.htm Our fundamentals program has this exercise and several others that will make this feeling stay all day and night while your breathing gets better and better. You will feel more rested, look better, have more fun and get more done! I guarantee it.

    If you have asthma, get this specific program that includes proper asthma breathing exercises: www.breathing.com/no-more-asthma.htm 


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