Babies and kittens both know how to keep their bellies soft when they breathe. Watch one sometime; you’ll see their small tummies balloon out with every intake of breath.
Chances are, you breathe like babies and kittens when you’re asleep. And like most adults, you chest-breathe during your waking hours.
If, while awake, belly breathing feels unnatural for you, as it did me not too long ago, you’re not alone. Most people breathe shallowly, from the chest and ribs up to the throat. It’s an unconscious transition from the belly breathing of a baby to the chest breathing of an adult, but it’s one a lot of people make. Whether from stress, the tension in your neck and shoulders, or being conscious of posture and a desire to “hold your gut in” for appearance's sake; it’s how most of us breathe.
I remember as a preteen when I learned how to suck in air to make my stomach flat. At the...