Most people define “breathing” as “a process of taking the air into the lung and expelling air out from the lung”. This indeed the definition that was given by the medical text. However, we must realize that the passage of air into and out of the lungs are specify as a movement, especially it is movement in the body cavities, which refers as a shape changes.
The human body is generally divided into two big cavities, which are the thoracic cavity and the abdominal cavity. These cavities share some properties, and they have important distinction as well. Both cavities contain vital organs, the thoracic cavity contain the lungs and the heart, and the abdominal cavity contains the stomach, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, small and large intestines, kidneys, and bladder.
Both cavities are open to one end to the external environment, the thoracic cavity at the top and the abdominal cavity at the bottom. The cavities open to each other, by means both have an important shared dividing structure, the diaphragm. Another important shared properties is that both cavities are bound posteriorly by the spine.
The two cavities also share the quality of mobility and they change shapes. This shape-changing ability is most relevant to breathing process, without this movement, the body cannot breathe at all.
The abdominal cavity change shape like flexible, fluid-filled such as water balloon. While the lungs occupy the three-dimensional space when change shape, because air movement occupy volume on the top to bottom, side to side and front to back.
When we change our perspective about the breath and understand that breathing is simply an activity of changing movement, we can help ourselves with many respiratory problem.
How to understand this statement, please try this exercise:
- Sit in your most comfortable position
- Straighten your back and relax shoulders and neck
- When inhalation, start to push your belly forward (as you feel like pregnant woman)
- When exhalation, pull the center of the belly (navel area) inside closer
When you push your belly forward, there is more space for the diaphragm to stretch to the lower part of the cavity, therefore the lung is free to expand a little bit wider. In this situation, more air may have the chance to rush in!
When exhale, bring the attention to the process of exhalation. Make your exhalation as long as you can. When you exhale more, there is more space for the “new air” to rush in. in this case you may help to upgrade your body circulation.
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