Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to breathe as we discussed in our first blog. Maybe a better way to say it would be to say there is an optimal way to breathe. One that primarily utilizes the full capacity of our diaphragm muscle. One that allows you to better support your posture and core, one that allows you to take in a higher level of oxygen at a lower level of effort and one that decreases the amount of stress and strain on your body that poor breathing inevitably places on it. There are a lot of good reasons to understand and work toward good diaphragm breathing!
In the first blog post But I breathe all day long, do I really need to work on it? I showed you how to do a quick test to see if you are one of those dreaded chest breathers. If you are, don’t worry, you have a lot of company, and we are here to help you understand how to improve your breathing. If you didn’t check out that video and/or if you are unsure whether you are a chest breather or not, please go back and take a look.
In the end, we need full 360° breathing
Quite often the first step to using your diaphragm better for breathing is working on being able to inhale and get your lower abdomen to expand without your chest lifting up toward the top of your head (again, see prior blog post), but in the end we need to get 360° of expansion all the way around your trunk and abdomen with each inhalation. Imagine you have one belt or piece of rope around your waist and one around your lower ribs (just above your waist). As you inhale, you want every part of you to expand outward into the belts or rope ** FYI.. I don’t suggest actually doing it like this, as most belts and rope are not elastic and will not allow you to expand. I am only using these items to help you get the visual and understand what should be happening.
Ok, we got the first step… then what next
So first step is to work on that ability to breathe low without your chest. Once you have that heading in the right direction, it is time to work on getting more of that 360° breathing around your waist.
Here is what you can work on
This video shows you what that 360° expansion looks like. If you don’t have a core360 belt, sit in a chair with your back against the back of the chair, place your hands so your palms are toward your sides and your fingers wrap around the front of your stomach (similar to how my hands are placed in the video below). Then try to inhale all the way around your trunk feeling for your hands to expand forward and to the sides and for your back to expand into the back of the chair. It is good to practice a few minutes several times a day.
Don’t try too hard! The 360° expansion doesn’t have to be huge, it just needs to be 360.