• Encourage optimal spinal alignment.
  • Encourages relaxation while decreasing sympathetic tone (Flight or Flight).
  • Prepares the core for exercise as this type of breathing stimulates the deep muscles of the core.
  • Can help release tight muscles associated with shallow breathing, such as the upper shoulder and neck musculature.
  • Can be used as a mindfulness mediation. Mindfulness has been shown to lower anxiety levels, which have been linked to heart disease.

Targeted Muscles

  • Deep Abdominal Musculature
  • Intercostal (Rib) Musculature
  • Diaphragm
  • Pelvic Floor

How to Perform

1Begin lying face up over a foam roller. Ensure the chin is gently tucked under.
2Bend your knees, placing your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your lower abdomen and one hand on your chest.
3For the first 2/3rd’s of the inhale, breathe into your lower hand so it rises towards the ceiling and out to the sides, expanding the abdomen.
4For the last 1/3rd of the inhale, breathe into the upper hand, expanding the chest and rib cage out three dimensionally.
5Without effort, simply exhale a long slow breath.
6Once you have mastered the breathing, try releasing your arms to the side with the palms up.
7Relax any tight muscles around your neck, shoulders and chest with each exhale.
8Want to make this a Mindfulness Based Mediation? If so, follow the instructions above. When the mind starts to wander, notice the thoughts and pull yourself back to your breath. Start with a 5 min practice and increase each week to 30 mins.

Alternative Exercise Suggestions for Patients with an ICD

1Keep arms below shoulder level. About 25 degrees from body. With palms facing down.

Common Challenges

  • For some it will take time to master belly breathing, especially from standing. The muscles around the abdomen and chest can be tight, leading most to take breaths from the shoulders and neck. Through repetition, the diaphragm’s function will provide greater flexibility, allowing for deeper and longer breaths.

Load Sets Reps Tempo Rest
n/a 1 1 20 Belly Breaths. 3 count inhale: 3 count exhale. n/a

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