Let’s talk about breathing. Now, I know what you’re thinking,“Why in the hell would we need to talk about breathing? “I already know how to do that! I thought you were here to help me reach my goal of losing 10 pounds”. It’s pretty common to think this when someone first approaches this concept. I know I did when I first learned about it through my own practice. The truth is that breathing and respiration are highly overlooked aspects of training and unfortunately are leading causes of dysfunction throughout the body. From core instability to shoulder problems to low back issues, breathing abnormalities cause all types of problems. These problems could slow down weight loss if you are not feeling 100 percent. When we cannot inflate the entire rib cage and create 360 degrees of intra abdominal pressure (360 degrees of breathing through the core and ribcage) we end up with BIG problems.
Let’s start with a way to screen for deep breathing. One of the of the best calibration tools I have found to create intra abdominal pressure is box breathing. Also known as 90/90 breathing. This can be done with your feet up on a box, where you place your feet and knees on a box and your back on the floor giving you a 90 degree angle at your knees and hips. Placing your hands on the very bottom of your rib cage to feel the ribcage expand as you take deep inhalations through your nose and exhale out your mouth.
What did you find? Were you able to push your breath into that area or did you have trouble getting it there? It’s ok if you didn’t because we are going to learn three ways to increase the likelihood of this working.
1st, those hands on the side of the ribs can be put to good use. Once you fill your belly with air(as much as you can), use your hands and press firmly against the ribs to create added pressure and feedback to exhaust all the air out of your system. This pushing is like when you squeeze a balloon and a rush of air comes squealing out. Same concept here.
2nd, You could have a good friend do the first technique. By having a friend there, your are able to get more feedback and focus on your own breath. Additionally, your friend has the advantage of gravity here and is able to give you more pressure on that lower diaphragm to really get the full effect of what it means to exhaust all your air and engage your core fully.
NO FRIENDS!!!!! NO WORRIES!!!!
3rd and final, my personal favorite, book box breathing. Yep, you guessed it, same breathing from that 90/ 90 position but here you have a book placed on your stomach and lower ribs, around the belly button area. The key to this is noticing if the book is moving up and down.
So there you have it, three ways to deepen your breathing. One thing I want to leave you with is this, imagine if you drove your car and one of the injectors was clogged. How would your car run? Probably not so well, it works the same with breathing. So let’s begin opening up that airway, after about two weeks of breath work you will see improvements in range of motion, sleep, and pain reduction.