In this age controlled by ad & media, we are much influenced by pictures of men and women with rock-solid abs. It is true that a big, fat belly invites a number of serious ailments like diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol and so on. These are proven and well-known medical facts. At the same time, we know little about the long-term side effects of six-pack abs. Their complications usually develop after years and are often ignored, unreported and under-estimated. Not only six-packs, even hard and stiff abdomens often cause stress, strain and digestive disorders like ibs, indigestion, bloating, flatulence, chronic constipation or diarrhea etc. Hence ideally our belly should be small, soft, tender, yet, at the same time strong, supple and flexible to support our body. This may sound absurd. But I assure you that it is very much possible. Anyone, with a little bit of practice and patience, can make it happen himself. If we observe the breathing pattern of infants and young children. we will find that usually their breathing is relaxed and effortless. Their chest do not move much, rather their chest and belly gently move up and down simultaneously during breathing. Whereas we usually breathe moving only our chest and shoulder while our belly remains more or less static or stiff. No, I am not talking about so-called "abdominal breathing" in which, the chest is forcibly kept still and only the abdomen moves. I am telling about "normal" breathing involving simultaneous effortless movements of chest and abdomen. So our target will be to very slowly involve our belly to move while breathing and to gradually reduce stress on our chest and shoulders. The most important thing is proceed slow but steady. Never apply any force or pressure during this process. Be patient and wait for results to come automatically. At beginning, by put your palm of your hand on your belly and observe whether your belly is soft and tender, or stiff and hard; whether it is moving up and down in breathing or remains static and fixed. Do not try to keep your chest still. Allow it to move on its own. Then try to relax your whole body, particularly your abdomen, chest and shoulders. Do not use force to push up or down your belly. Do not unnecessarily try to take deep inhale or deep exhale. Rather just watch your breathing. Keep focus on your belly. Feel your belly. Just observe your breathing pattern and relax. Keep in mind the target- that ultimately the stress on your chest and shoulders will be reduced and your chest and belly will smoothly and automatically move up and down together in breathing. Such movements will be not big or heavy, rather small, quiet and easy. Also observe closely the breathing patterns of people around you. After some time, you yourself will be able to find out who is breathing normally and healthily, and who is not. Gradually and slowly, after months of practice, your belly will start to move automatically together with your chest while you inhale and exhale. You will enjoy it. Your body and mind will get multiple benefits. It is worth trying for at least a couple of months. Let us hope for the best. Good wishes.
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