Breathing for stronger core and relaxed mind





Core strength is the rockstar of our bodies. It gives the spine stability, helps with balance and makes us stand taller.

The truth is, every time your body moves, the movement comes from your core (who needs crunches now?!). But a weak mid-section and inability to breath properly could lead to lower back pain, neck stiffness and an uneven pelvis.

Unlike shallow breathing (when only your chest and shoulders move with each inhale), with deep, diaphragmatic breathing, when your ribcage and torso expand forward, back and to the sides (that’s why it’s called 360 breathing) you eccentrically lengthen the TA's (transverse abdominis muscles aka the deepest core muscles) every time you take air in. If you correctly expand your entire abdominal wall, you will be able to maintain some core tension through exercise while breathing.


Steps


1. Lie down on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Place both hands on the outside of your ribcage, where your bottom bra line is. Breathe in slowly through the nose, feeling your ribs expand underneath your hands as you press your back ribs into the floor.

3. Exhale through your mouth like you’re blowing up a balloon or exhaling through a straw, feeling how the abdominal muscles gently tighten and pull in and send the ribcage down even more into the floor.


Notes


Notice if your shoulders lift up towards the ears—they shouldn’t—or if only your belly or chest rose up. Feel your abs tightening gently and your navel pulling towards the spine, let the pelvis and the chest be relaxed and neutral.


Breathing Checklist


  • Relaxed feeling in the body

  • Inhale - back, sides and the front of the ribs expand

  • Exhale - gently engage lower abs, pelvic floor lifts up

  • Feel subtle bracing of the core

  • Feel the length in spine and happiness as you one step closer to being stronger and more chilled:)

Afterthoughts


We can't deny stress in our lives. The bad news is that we can't just turn off a switch and be like "ok, i'm NOT stressed anymore!". Here is where diaphragmatic breathing comes to play as it relaxes the mind and body, reduces tension, and relieves stress. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. So when the next time someone tells you, take a deep breath, really take one!