Strong abs are created through a deep inner core which functions as a unit. Breathing is an auto response to help keep us alive but breathing correctly can also help:
- Strengthen Deep Inner Core
- Strengthen/Improve Pelvic Floor Function
- Strengthen and Heal Rectus Diastasis
Before we dive into correct breathing, let’s look at what happens when we shallow breathe:
When you shallow breathe your chest and shoulders are the primary movers. This triggers the flight or fight stimulus causing your Cortisol levels to rise. Let’s face it, being a mom is stressful enough we do not need our breathing to add to the stress. The answer to this is not belly-breathing. So, how do we breathe properly?
How to breathe:
- When you breathe in, you should chest should expand because you are filling your lungs with air.
- When you are breathing in your diaphragm should expand causing your ribs to expand in the front, side and back (360 degree expansion). When you diaphragm expands there will be some belly movement.
- When your diaphragm is expanding down it outs pressure on your pelvic floor causing it to expand down.
- When you exhale, ribs cage moves down and in.
- Your diaphragm recoils up and as a response to this your pelvic for recoils up.
Your turn, let’s check to make sure you are breathing properly:
Place your hand on your chest and one on your belly. On the inhale ask yourself, does your air go into your belly or chest? Are your ribs expanding in the front, side and back?
If you find your ribs are not expanding, it may be due to chest tightness or weak abs. For the ribs to expand, you need eccentric transverse abdominal and oblique strength. In order for your ribs to expand the tension in your core must be maintained. If your ribs are only moving in the front your rectus abdominis is lengthening and the fascia connections causing your belly to expand into a DR separation.
If you find your ribs are not moving or you have too much belly breathing, the first step is to learn how to practice the deep breathing system then you can move on to incorporating it into exercise.
Lay on the floor Place one hand on your diaphragm and the other on your side at your rib cage. Breathe in feeling your diaphragm expand and your ribs
- Your chest should not rise or shoulders move up towards your ears.
- Your stomach should not expand either You may feel a slight rise in both your stomach and chest but most if not all air should expand your diaphragm
Complete 8-10 breaths
Child's pose is perfect for beginning to achieve back body rib expansion. When you are in child's pose your belly is resting on your thighs preventing you to belly breathe. Start by getting into Child's pose.
- Practice feeling your breath go into your back.
- Feel the ribs expand up and out to the side.
Complete 8-10 breaths