The diaphragm is the most important muscle involved in breathing. A diaphragm that performs its function to the fullest, elastic and without tension, ensures deep breathing, capable of massaging the internal organs and counteracting poor digestion and constipation. Not only that, when the diaphragm moves without rigidity it helps to counteract anxiety and stress, it reduces cortisol values and blood pressure, when elevated (Hamasaki et al, Medicines, 2020 - Hopper et al, JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep, 2019).
Sit on the yoga mat, cross-legged. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your navel. Breathe, making sure that the hand on the chest stays still while only the hand on the navel moves. Continue like this for a few breaths. This way you are activating diaphragmatic breathing.
Stay in a seated position. Stretch your arms up, bringing your palms together. Exhale, go down with the torso to the right. Inhale and lift your torso up again. Exhale and go down to the left. Continue like this for a few cycles.
The left leg now remains on the floor, with the knee on the mat and the foot towards the pelvis. The right leg goes over the left one with the back of the foot resting on the mat. Extend your right arm straight up, bend your elbow and bring your hand behind your back. The left arm goes behind the back and the hands clasp each other. Breathe. Then release the position and repeat on the other side.
You are seated, feet on the floor and legs bent. Slowly go backwards until your feet are off the mat. The arms are parallel to the thighs. Breathe. Then, calmly try extending your legs into the boat yoga position. The arms are parallel to the legs.
Go on your stomach, the legs are stretched backwards and the backs of the feet are placed on the mat. The hands are at shoulder height and pressing against the mat. Raise your torso by extending your arms into the cobra yoga pose.
Finally, bring yourself on your back. Hands are on the rib cage. Look for the end of the ribs and start massaging, pinch the skin, lift it up. You will feel a pleasant sensation of relaxation.