Breathing with your diaphragm (belly breathing)

Breathing with your diaphragm (belly breathing)

Diaphragm breathing, showing positions of hands on chest and belly while breathing out.

Breathing with your diaphragm, also called diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing), helps your lungs expand so that they take in more air.

  • Lie on your back, or prop yourself up on several pillows.
  • Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  • When you breathe in, push your belly out as far as possible. You should feel the hand on your belly move out, while the hand on your chest does not move.
  • When you breathe out, you should feel the hand on your belly move in.
  • Notice how it feels to breathe this way. When you start to exercise, try to get the same feeling of your belly moving in and out, rather than your chest and shoulders moving up and down.

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