Belly Breathing reminds the student to breathe instead of holding his breath during focused mental
activity or physical exertion. The breath should expand the rib cage front to back, left to right, and top to bottom, including the abdomen. When breathing is shallow, lifting only the rib cage, the oxygen supply to the brain is limited. When one breathes correctly, there is abundant oxygen for higher brain functions.
• The student inhales through the nose and initially cleanses the lungs with one long exhalation, released in short puffs through pursed lips (he may imagine keeping a feather afloat). Thereafter, the outbreath is also through the nose.
• The hand rests on the lower abdomen, rising on inhalation and falling on exhalation.
• Inhale to a count of three, hold breath for three, exhale for three, hold for three. Repeat. For an alternate rhythm, inhale for two, exhale for four, with no holding.
• Ideally, rhythmic breathing is automatic. Rhythmic music may help, so that counting isn’t needed.
• When doing activities like lifting, kicking, or pushing, remember to exhale on the exertion.
• Lie flat with a book on the belly. The abdomen should rise on inhalation and lower on exhalation.
• 3-D Breathing 8s: Squat with hands flat on the floor, between your knees, to experience the diaphragm as you breathe. Then paint an imaginary 8 between your left and right ribs, feeling both spheres of the 8 expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Now turn the 8 so that it expands between your stomach and spine; now turn it top to bottom, expanding your chest and lower abdomen. Can you activate all three 8s at once?
• Paint an 8 on any of the above-mentioned body planes. Let your breath move you as you inhale, painting one side, and exhale, painting the other. Direct the 8 around areas of tension, or around the focal points of any other Brain Gym movement (e.g., your two hands, while you are doing Brain Buttons).
• Walk and Belly Breathe at the same time.
ACTIVATES THE BRAIN FOR
• the ability to cross the midline
• centering and grounding
• relaxation of the central nervous system
• cranial rhythms
• reading (encoding and decoding)
• speech and oral reading
• improved inflection and expression
• a heightened energy level
• diaphragmatic breathing
• an improved attention span
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