Diaphragmatic breathing: Mindfulness Code: Vagus nerve


Physiologically, breathing into the deepest part of our lungs pushes on the diaphragmatic wall, the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities.

The downward movement of the diaphragm compresses the abdomen and forces it outward.

This in turn causes the gut to press on the vagus nerve (a bundle of cranial nerves running down the inside of the spine),

which triggers the relaxation response and releases serotonin from the gut into the bloodstream to take to the brain.

When we breathe shallowly, or high in the chest, we don’t get these benefits.

In fact, chest breathing makes us vulnerable to the body’s alert-and-alarm system, the fight-or-flight syndrome that floods the body and brain with the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
My two cents: Start your meditation practice with five of these deep breaths.


Next, take two breaths exactly the same, except for exhaling in short bursts, like blowing out a candle. Expel all air by contracting the stomach, squeezing all the air out.


Bring awareness to  the breaths path , Inside the nostrils, then down into the stomach first. Like filling a glass. The bottom fills first.


Continue filling the lungs until full. Hold for a while, letting maximum oxygen absorption occur. The brain uses 25% of the bodies oxygen.



Now we are ready to sit, relax, focus and let go. No thinking required or needed.

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