Guided Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing provides a workout for the vagus nerve, the internal highway between head and heart. According to the polyvagal theory, the vagus nerve enables us to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system and out of fight or flight mode. Bringing us into a state of rest, healing, and safety. In a practical sense, it helps improve digestion, sleep, and stress reduction. Breathing in this way is the quickest means of getting out of the flight or fight response so it’s great for anxiety sufferers. For an added bonus, it improves the capacity for vocal range, with the potential of freeing the natural speaking voice.
To start, lay down on a flat surface with bent knees.
Put your hands on your waist so you can feel your front and back ribs. Feel them expand and contract as you inhale and exhale. Observe your stomach rising and falling on each breathe.
Slowly inhale through the nose for a count of 5
Hold your breath for 5 counts
Slowly exhale through the mouth for 5 counts (emptying your belly of all air)
Hold your breathe for 5 counts
Tip: For an added sense of safety, inhale while visualizing a color you like and exhale a color you don’t.