The simple fact is that most people do not breathe well. There are numerous studies on the effects of poor breathing on your health.
Mastering your breath is one of the keys to overall physical and mental health.
“ Breathe from your diaphragm ! "
The diaphragm is a huge, dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the rib cage. Although it is used 24/7, it goes largely unnoticed ( unless you get hiccups ).
If you look at a newborn breathing you could see the diaphragm in action, unfortunately our lifestyle cause a change in our breathing pattern, increasing our stress level.
“ Forget the Shallow breathing , Breathing well means using your diaphragm to its full capacity “
Most people have a thoracic breathing (shallow breathing ), It means air and oxygen is not getting deep into the lungs to take part in gas exchange to literally power the body. Shallow breathing also creates a stress response from the lower brain (which is not good to be in all the time)
What are the main causes ?
There are hundred of them but the most common are :
a poor posture at desk, slouching and compressing the diaphragm makes difficult to use it.
Skinny jean , Much like wearing a corset, compression in this area stops the diaphragm from descending fully during breathing, which can lead to shallow breaths and hyperventilation.
Holding your breath ! When we have strong emotional outbursts or tensions we can easily recognise that we hold our breath. But what is interesting is that many people hold their breath while they go about their normal activities. It’s due in part to diaphragm spasms and due also to lack of awareness on how to properly breath.
What should I do ?
So an important component of breath training is getting your diaphragm to relax by working on it sufficiently, and by consciously making the motion of the diaphragm comfortable and smooth. This takes practice.
Osteopaths have an umbrella of exercises to offer for mastering you breath , we also help to release any tensions which would hold you from breathing properly ( restrictions in your spine, tight muscles or tensions of ligaments etc..)
But why not starting today ?
Can you become conscious of your breath today? Think about what you are breathing in and what you are breathing out.
Breathe out when exercising (when you make an effort or lift something heavy , don't forget to exhale)
Lie on your back on a flat surface, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible. As you exhale through pursed lips, draw you tummy in , BUT make sure that your start from your pelvic floor muscles, meaning from the lower part to the upper part of your tummy . (I like to imagine I zip up a tight trouser!) . The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.
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