Belly Button Breathing

I call it “Belly Button Breathing” and the books call it “Diaphragmatic Breathing”. I’m also pushing 50 years old and still can’t say “aluminum foil” correctly most times. You might find yourself feeling a little silly doing this exercise, yet once you get the technique down, you will be able to ace it without a soul knowing you are even doing it. And, think of it this way, you are probably sitting there alone reading this and trying it out whereas many of us were doing this in a class with several others!

The purpose of this exercise is to get oxygen deep into your lungs and out. As well, it is used to help regulate your breathing rate.  Ok, ready? Here are the directions:

  • Find a comfortable position where you are “crunched up.” You can lie down or just sit comfortably in a chair.
  • Point to your belly button – yes, seriously. That is your point of reference for this activity!
  • When you inhale, imagine your breath going all the way into your belly until it touches your belly button before it can come back out.
  • When you breathe out, breathe all the air out, like you are making your belly button touch your backbone.
  • Breaths are done with a 4-count. Breathe in on a slow (don’t hyperventilate, but don’t breathe so slow you pass out either) 4 count, and breathe out on a slow 4 count.  You can count can count “breathe in, 2, 3, 4, breathe out, 2, 3, 4″ or some people will find that using words instead of numbers help, so instead of counting you can say “I can breathe in” and “I can breathe out” in your mind.
  • Select either a number of times to do the exercise or set a timer for :30 to start with.
  • Ready?? Give it go!

Breathe in, 2…3…4…breathe out…2…3…4….


While breathing, with each exhale, relax your shoulders, jaws, and/or body. Think of a calm place and with each breath, place yourself there. Focus on the moment and if your mind wanders, don’t get mad at yourself, celebrate that you are giving the exercise a try, and just keep going. There is no “messing up” when it comes to breathing exercises!