How to Develop Diaphragmatic Breathing 24/7

How to check one's predominant breathing: is it diaphragmatic or costal? Do you breathe using the diaphragm or chest at rest?
Self-test. Put one of your arms on your belly (stomach) or navel and another one higher, on your upper chest (see the picture on the left). Relax completely so that your breathing dynamic has little changes. (We want to know more about your usual unconscious breathing.) Listen to your breathing for about 20-30 seconds. Take 2-3 very slow and deep breaths to feel your breathing in more detail.
Now we know about your usual breathing. In order to be certain, you can ask other people to observe how you breathe when you are not aware about your breath (e.g., during sleep, while reading, studying, etc.).
Check your ability to move the diaphragm. Try to move or push out your lower arm (which is on the belly button or navel) with your abdominal muscles. Can you breathe using your belly only so that your rib cage and upper arm do not move?
Warning. It is vital for your health for your respiratory and GI health to have a straight spine 24/7 (cycling is an exception).
Diaphragmatic breathing usually becomes the norm (24/7), when the morning CP is over 30 s. It is logical that people in the past (about 100 years ago and before that) had diaphragmatic breathing 24/7. Since relatively healthy people have about 20-25 s CP these days, it is clear that most of them are chest breathers. Following exercises, methods, and techniques are useful to prevent problems with costal breathing and achieve higher CP sooner. The more you practice them, the faster you get there.
1. Exercise with books to learn diaphragmatic breathing
Take 2-3 medium weight books or one large phone book (e.g., yellow pages phone book) and lie down on your back with the books on your tummy. Focus on your breathing and change the way you breathe so that you can see that
1) you can lift the books up about 2-3 cm (1 inch) with each inhalation and then relax to exhale (the books will go down);
2) your rib cage does not expand during inhalations.
Repeat it for about 3-5 minutes before breathing sessions to reconnect your conscious brain with the diaphragm. You can practice this exercise for some days until you are sure that diaphragmatic breathing is the usual way to breathe during the breathing sessions. Once the CP is over 30 seconds, the spasmodic state of the diaphragm is naturally released (for some people with persistently tense diaphragm, magnesium can be an additional assisting factor) and it becomes the main muscle for breathing at rest.
If the diaphragm is still not the main muscle for your breathing and/or you have doubts about your ability to keep your chest relaxed during breathing exercises, apply this ultimate solution.
Exercise with belt for diaphragmatic breathing development

Exercise 2 (the ultimate solution). A belt for diaphragmatic breathing
You can use a strong belt to restrict your rib cage and “force” the diaphragm to be the main breathing muscle using the following technique.
Put a belt around your lower ribs (in the middle of the trunk) and buckle it tightly so that you cannot take a deep inhale using your rib cage or chest. Now for slow deep inhalations your body needs to use your tummy (or abdomen). Try it. While leaving the belt for some minutes or even hours, you can acquire diaphragmatic breathing and corresponding sensations.
This process is faster, if you focus your attention on your breathing and try to practice Buteyko reduced breathing with very light air hunger (taking small inhalations using your diaphragm and then immediately relaxing it). The focus of attention makes nervous links between your conscious mind and the diaphragm reinforced so that you can regain control of this muscle.
Do not hyperventilate when you pay attention to your breathing! Breathe slowly and remain relaxed so that even if your inhales deepen, your CO2 will not lessen.
Important note. Diet of modern people is low in magnesium, which is a known relaxant of smooth muscles of the human body, the diaphragm included. The normal daily requirement for Mg is about 400-500 mg. Typical symptoms include: tendency to slouch (indicating muscular tension), predisposition to constipation (muscles of the bowel also get into the state of spasm; hence "Milk of magnesia" or magnesium oxide is a popular and safe remedy for constipation) and tense diaphragm causing costal breathing. Try taking Mg supplement (about 400-500 mg daily plus calcium for balance to maintain) for 3 days and monitor your symptoms and effects on your CP.

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