3 parts breathing
Taking a deep, spacious breath is a learnable skill and can make a difference. To make sure my lungs fill fully and properly, I do it in 3 parts:
- First, fill the bottom part of my lungs using my diaphragm.
- Second, fill the middle part of my lungs using my ribcage muscles.
- Last, fill the top part of my lungs using my chest muscles.
Each of the three muscle(s) groups can move to a certain minimum and a maximum. The movement is all-around, in 360⁰. Filling the lungs this way is similar to filling a glass of water. It starts from the bottom, then the middle of the glass, and finally, the top. To ensure my lungs deflate deeply, I empty them in the reversed order.
For muscle activation, timing is significant, and the process is performed in consecutive steps, not simultaneous inflations or deflations. When I fill my lungs using this 3-part process, my secondary breathing muscles (neck, shoulder, and abdominal) should be inactive.
Contrary to 3-part breathing, if the lower parts of my lungs stay inactive, breathing is done mainly by the chest and ribcage muscles. That leads to shallow and vertical breathing. Shallow breathing may cause my lungs to empty and fill insufficiently.
How I breathe in 3 parts:
- I use my hands to follow the steps, allowing me to better sense the inflation and deflation of my lungs.
- I place one palm on my stomach and the back of my other hand on my back. I make sure that at least the knuckles of my fingers touch my back. Both palms are now parallel to each other. My diaphragm muscle expands in 360⁰ to maximum amplitude, similar to the opening of an umbrella.
- My palms move to the sides of my ribcage and cover my ribs partially. I further expand my ribcage on all sides (in 360⁰) to maximum amplitude, inflating the middle part of my lungs.
- My fingertips move up to my horizontal collarbone. I now inflate the top part of my lungs as my collarbone moves forward.
Exhale (the reverse of inhale):
- I exhale by relaxing my chest muscles and deflating the top part of the lungs. The tips of my fingers placed on my collarbone begin to move back towards my body.
- I exhale further, relaxing my ribcage muscles. My hands are now moving back down, so my palms return to their initial position of partially covering my ribcage.
- I exhale by relaxing the diaphragm allowing it to return to its neutral dome shape, like a closing umbrella. My hands move further down. With one palm on my stomach and the back of the other hand on my back, where at least my knuckles touch my back, both palms return to being parallel to each other.