Belly Breathing 2: Standing

n/a 1 10-20 3 count Inhale: 3 count exhale Your Choice
LOAD n/a
REPS 10-20
TEMPO 3 count Inhale: 3 count exhale
REST Your Choice


  • Encourages relaxation while decreasing sympathetic tone (Flight or Flight).
  • Prepares the body for stretching. Deep breathing while stretching allows for a greater ability to stretch.
  • Releases tight muscles associated with shallow breathing, such as the upper shoulder and neck musculature.
  • Can be used as a mindfulness mediation. Mindfulness has been shown to lower anxiety levels, which have been linked to heart disease.

Targeted Muscles

  • Diaphragm
  • Transverse Abdominus
  • Intercostal Muscles
  • Pelvic Floor

How to Perform

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart.
  2. One hand on your lower abdomen and the other on your chest.
  3. For the first 2/3rd’s of the inhale, breathe into your lower hand so it rises towards the ceiling and out to the sides, expanding the abdomen.
  4. For the last 1/3rd of the inhale, breathe into the upper hand, expanding the chest and rib cage three dimensionally.
  5. Without effort, simply exhale a long slow breath.
  6. Relax any tight muscles around your neck and shoulders with each exhale.

Common Challenges

  • For some it will take time to master belly breathing, especially from standing. The muscles around the abdomen and chest can be tight, leading most to take breaths from the shoulders and neck. Through repetition, the diaphragm and supporting musculature will improve it’s flexibility, allowing for deeper and longer breaths.

Alternative Exercise Suggestions for Patients with an ICD