Ginástica Natural: The secrets to abdominal breathing

    [First published in 2009.]

    By Álvaro Romano

    In this sequence of breathing work we advance further in
    our objective of putting together
    a program for you to apply in
    This month we talk about
    abdominal, or diaphragmatic,
    breathing, how it works and
    its benefits. Such techniques,
    known for millennia, may even
    be used successfully by sedentary folk, as they offer great
    improvement in health and
    quality of life.
    I would hereupon like to
    impart with readers part of the
    research I am preparing for my
    Most people breathe puffing out their chest, and use
    only the upper part of the lungs.
    Thus, they take air only to the
    apex of the lungs and do not
    exercise the diaphragm. Therefore, the amplitude of the respiratory movement of the lower
    part of the lungs is lowered,
    and diminishes the capacity to
    inhale and exhale.
    In diaphragmatic breathing, upon inhaling the abdomen accompanies the inward
    movement of air, gently dilating;
    on exhaling it contracts slowly
    and gently for the air to move
    Now it is your turn to
    perform this exercise. Use only
    your nose, breathing in a calm
    and controlled manner. Seek
    to move only your abdomen,
    keeping your chest immobile.
    And empty your mind and
    concentrate on the air flowing
    in and out.
    It’s a simple technique,
    at the same time very important for carrying out the more
    advanced exercises, and I use
    it at the beginning and end of
    training, and on days leading up
    to competitions.
    To friendly readers I admit
    early on I had difficulty both in
    emptying my mind and in remaining completely immobile
    for minutes. But the moment I
    slowly started to concentrate on
    breathing using the abdomen I
    made progress until I could go a
    good while without feeling the
    time go by.
    The secret, however, is
    in your reflexes: when your
    train of thought moves to the
    tensions of daily life and bills
    to pay, react and immediately
    return your thoughts to your
    breathing, even if this occurs
    every second. With every passing day you will manage to go
    longer and longer detached
    from your daily problems and
    concentrated on your breathing,
    and you will thereby progress.
    This technique will help
    in physical and mental recovery. And only through continuous practice will you observe
    changes in your performance
    as a fighter and in your personal life.
    It is furthermore a form of
    meditation. Observe how when
    your respiration calms down,
    your mind becomes calm too.

    This article was originally published on

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