Can breathing through your stomach cause contact with “old feelings” in a negative way?

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Question: If you avoid deep breathing or breathing down to your stomach, negative emotions are stored, often in the stomach area, which is confirmed by expressions like “butterflies in the stomach.” Moving your breath to your chest may be seen as an escape, as you do not want to come into contact with present time unpleasant negative emotions. Could there be negative effects if you start breathing down to your stomach and become  in touch with “old feelings” in a negative way that may make you feel bad at first? In other words, could there be other reactions besides the positive calming effect?

Answer: Yes, it is true that some form of emotional discomfort may occur when you start breathing training. Just like a person who quits smoking does not feel that good at first but will start enjoying positive results after a while, the discomfort from breathing training may lead to positive results in the end. Of course, some people may not experience any impairment at all. The response to breathing training is quite individual and varies a lot from person to person.

If you start to feel worse, my advice is to make one of the following four choices:

  1. Hang in like you have so far, and continue to do your breathing training.
  2. Continue your breathing training but not as much.
  3. Increase your breathing training more to get rid of the problems faster.
  4. Take a break from breathing training.

The last point applies especially if the impairment becomes too troublesome. Choose the option that suits you. There is no right or wrong.

More information about initial impairment during breathing training can be found in the article: “Can breathing retraining cause a cleansing reaction?“.

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