chest breathing, women breathing, nz women anxiety, maori anxiety

Are you a chest breather or belly breather: Why it's important to find out?

It is important to know whether you are a belly or chest breather because it can have an impact on your overall health and well-being.

We are naturally belly breathers when we are born.  However, due to factors such as lifestyle and stress, many of us become chest breathers and are unaware.

When you breathe, your diaphragm, a large muscle that separates your chest and abdominal cavities, contracts and expands to pull air into your lungs. Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is when you breathe using your diaphragm, causing your belly to expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Chest breathing, on the other hand, is when you breathe using the muscles in your chest and shoulders, causing your chest to rise and fall with each breath.

Belly breathing is considered the most efficient way to breathe because it allows for more air to enter the lungs, leading to increased oxygenation of the blood and better removal of carbon dioxide. It also helps to activate the relaxation response, which reduces stress and anxiety.

In contrast, chest breathing can be less efficient because it uses smaller muscles that can become fatigued more easily, leading to shallow breathing and a decrease in oxygen intake. Chest breathing is also associated with stress and anxiety, as it can activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's "fight or flight" response.

Understanding whether you are a belly or chest breather can help you identify any breathing patterns that may be impacting your health and well-being, and allow you to develop strategies to improve your breathing and overall health.

Check the video below to see if you're a belly or chest breather.  If you find you're a chest breather, practice this technique daily for 5 minutes and re-train yourself to start breathing from the belly again.  This can have transformational effects on your hinengaro (mental/emotional), tinana (physical) and wairua (spiritual) well-being.



Julia Wikeepa | Hā Habit Founder


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