Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise for Meditation

by Michael Hughes

What is diaphragmatic breathing?

Diaphragmatic breathing simply means breathing using your diaphragm muscle.

The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle below your lungs.

If you ask a person to take a deep breath, you’ll notice that their chest will expand.

But when you breathe with the diaphragm your chest doesn’t rise at all.

How to do diaphragmatic breathing

Sit upright in a straight-backed chair.

And place your hands in your lap.

Allow your shoulders to drop down and relax.

Now, without moving your shoulders or chest, take a slow, deep breath in.

Imagine that there’s a balloon inside your belly. When you breathe in, the balloon expands outward. And when you breathe out, the balloon collapses in toward your spine.

If you have trouble with this breathing method you’ll find it easier to practice it lying on the floor on a carpet or a folded blanket.

Raise your head off the floor by using a stack of books. If your head isn’t high enough you won’t be able to relax your neck and upper back properly.

Whilst lying on your back, breathe normally and you’ll find that you’ll naturally breathe with your diaphragm which causes your belly to expand and contract.

Concentrate on the movement of your belly rising and falling.

Now, when you try it sitting up, you should find this breathing method much easier.

Why should you breathe with the diaphragm?

Because it promotes greater relaxation than normal breathing.

It can increase your lung capacity.

You can use diaphragmatic breathing with the simple meditatation for beginners.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


Your information is very crucial and i can learn a lot from you. I am now starting to be a beginner of meditation. To me it’s a bit hard to concentrate but i will try my best everyday to make it better.
Thanks for this and please keep it up.


Profile photo of Michael Hughes Michael Hughes

Thanks for the comment Sodany. Just make sure to do your meditation every day and you will improve.



Although I have been meditating, mostly faithfully, for nearly forty years, I only recently have heard of the importance of this type of breathing: first with Peggy Cappy, whose yoga videos for “anyone”, that I use, lately with a CD I am using from Dr. Andrew Weil on “Breathing for Health”, and when I saw your message on twitter had to read it. I have respiratory issues including chronic bronchitis, emphesema, asthma, etc. I believe that the reason I am still functioning at all, is that I do all these healing practices. But I am finding that the biggest boost I ever got was when i discovered the diaphragmatic breath or belly breathing. While there is no reversing emphysema or copd, one can sustain their current abilities for a longer time, and improve general health in spite of it. Finding energy with diminishing oxygen levels is difficult and I found that this type of breathing has boosted my energy greatly! It does require faithful practice, but I find that five minutes twice a day is enough to create a new habit. Easy to do antime or anywhere. Thanks for getting the word out.


Valerie Bastien

Thank you for explaining diaphragmatic breathing in such easy steps. I use it when teaching singing 🙂


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