In Tai Chi, Qigong and even in some yoga practices, students use the technique of “belly breathing.” Belly breathing means taking a deep breath through the nose and filling the lungs until the belly slowly rises. It’s a powerful method to get more oxygen and energy into the body.
Breathing is connected to emotions. Anger makes our breath constricted. If we feel stressed our breath is short and shallow to the point that it appears almost nonexistent. Most of us take short and shallow breaths. Shallow breathing increases stress and anxiety.
This does not mean that you inhale or exhale to the maximum which can hinder your oxygen supply. You should inhale and exhale to about 75%, so the lungs have room to operate. The rib cage and chest should barely move while you are breathing. Allow your breath to be full and move deep into your abdomen. Key words for good breathing: Calm (Jing), long, deep, slow and soft. Deep and calm breathing relaxes you and keeps your mind sharp. The breath is a bridge between the body and the mind. Oxygen could be described as the most essential food.
Switching to belly breathing is a great method for slowing down the heart rate and calm the nervous system. An easy way to start is to either sit down or lie on your back and your feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands on the belly and slowly inhale and exhale, allow you belly to rise and move back to the floor.