In basic physiology, there is two types of breathing – Upper Chest or Diaphragmatic. Upper Chest Breathing (zone 1) occurs as a natural response to dangerous or stressful situations. The problem, however, lies in predominately using shallow, Upper Chest breathing on a continual basis. Shallow breathing typically leads to stressful, erratic breathing and shortness of breath. This inferior way of breathing can negatively influence your physical and mental health.
Referring to the diagram above, all good quality breathing is Diaphragmatic Breathing (zones 2 & 3). There are a few different methods that are used for different purposes. A singer, for example, would proficiently be able to use their lower ribcage (zone 2) when breathing during singing. “Abdominal Breathing” (zone 3) is the best breathing technique for a beginner to learn because it is the simplest and easiest way to relax in any situation. A full “Yoga Breath” is ideal for a deep mind and body relaxation because it uses all three zones, therefore using all parts of the lungs – upper, middle and lower.
Unfortunately the average person does not know how to use their full lung capacity to breathe fully and deeply. Even children and teenagers can struggle to take a deep breath, so it is not only an adult issue. Many people who have habitually developed poor breathing habits don’t know that it is possible to unlearn bad breathing habits. It’s a pity to see people who are imprisoned in their own bodies, who want to be able to breathe better, but believe they’re unable to take a full, deep and satisfying breath.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter how poor your breathing currently is; the fact is that you can become a good quality breather. With the right understanding and the right training, you have the ability to improve. So, even if you struggle with your breathing, just know that you can learn to increase your ability to breathe better and feel more at ease with your everyday breathing. I have trained thousands of people and everyone has been able to improve. To the extent of how much you can improve depends on a lot of factors, but whatever your breathing ability currently is, rest assured that you can definitely improve. Like everyone else, you can develop the skills to use all your breathing muscles, engage your full lung capacity and become a good quality breather.
Sophie Gabriel is the author of the book: “Breathe For Life” If you have any questions or want more information regarding Breathing Training, please visit breatheforlife.com