Not surprisingly, I get asked this a lot.
When you first start practising the daoyin breathing exercises, many people are surprised at how slow the breathing rate is. You sometimes find that you have to take an extra breath here or there to keep up.
Very common. Because most people’s breathing is, at best, average, and commonly very poor.
But you can improve (more on that in a bit).
The optimum breathing rate for humans (if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you're human, let me know if you’re not) is 5–7 breaths a minute but the average breathing rate today is around 16–18 breaths a minute. Very shallow. Poor quality breathing.
Begin improving your breathing by making sure that you’re using the diaphragm as your main breathing muscle. This is the dome shaped muscle that attaches to the rib cage and spine and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.
The diaphragm moves down when you inhale and back when you exhale allowing for a much more efficient breathing process.
Once you’re breathing correctly, you can begin to train the breath to become longer. Start by gently increasing the length of your inhale and exhale. When your breathing adapts, increase a fraction more, and so on.
Where to practice? I’m assuming you take your body with you wherever you go ;-), so you can practice anywhere at any time. For example, sitting at your desk / computer, standing in a queue, walking (for pleasure, or walking to and from work, doesn’t matter), waiting for the kettle to boil, for the delivery man… Reading this email… You’ve got the idea…
The breathing process is something that I go into in more depth in the new meditation eCourse too. If you’d like to get on the list just hit reply and let me know. (I’m not doing any more links for now :-))
Ok, time to go practice your breathing, let me know how you get on.
Bye for now