Most of us breathe the way we dance—we think we’re doing it right, but we’re not. Even more than bopping to the beat, breathing is a natural, automatic action, and one we don’t often give much (if any) thought to. In fact, you probably think more about how you look on the dance floor than you do about how you breathe. And you know which one is more important. (Answer: It’s the one that provides oxygen for every part of your body.) Breathing right, and taking time to do it, makes you look and feel younger. But don’t worry, we’ll teach you how.
Before you say, “Hey, I know how to breathe, I’ve been doing it my whole life!” take this little quiz: Look ahead for two breaths. Then, look down for two breaths. Do you see anything moving? Probably not, or at least not much. That’s because most people usually take very short, shallow breaths that come only from the chest. Your lungs are capable of inhaling 6 quarts of air per minute, but unless you’re using them to their fullest extent, you’re not getting nearly that much. The key is to engage your diaphragm, which pulls down on your lungs, allowing them to expand completely.
Here are 3 steps to re-learning how to take a deep breath:
Lie on your back on the floor. Put one hand on your belly button and one hand on your chest.
Slowly take a deep breath in, taking five seconds to fill up your lungs. Count it out in your head, 1… 2… 3… 4… 5. Your stomach should rise as you do this, your belly button moving up, away from your spine. Your chest will widen up and out to the sides.
When your lungs feel totally full, exhale slowly, counting to 7 as you let all the air out. Focus on bringing your belly button back down toward your spine to force your lungs to empty completely.
Repeat these twice a day:
10 deep breaths in the morning and 10 at night, to improve lung and blood vessel function, fill your body with oxygen, flush toxins out of the body and relieve stress.